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A portable solar trailer.

The Forest Service is constantly researching alternative options for energy resources. We are also working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy use and searching for renewable energy options. As a federal agency, we hope to become energy neutral by 2020.

Americans use vast amounts of different energy sources every day and depend on several non-renewable sources. The Forest Service researches renewable energy in order to diversify future energy options. Working with the USDA and their renewable energy research stations, we track energy usage, study methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and analyze how to improve energy efficiency.

Strategic Energy Framework

The Strategic Energy Framework publication provides specific Forest Service goals and charts a course to achieve these goals. This framework helps the Forest Service become more energy efficient, demonstrates effective sustainable management, and sets standards of energy practices for Americans to follow.

USDA Energy Investments Map

The USDA created an Energy Investments Map and a Renewable Energy Resources Map to illustrate what type of energy is used in different locations across the Unites States. These maps also illustrate type and quantity of USDA energy investments for that area.

Research and Development: Biomass and Bioenergy

A priority research area of the Forest Service’s research and development program, biomass and bioenergy scientists focus on finding alternative sources to replace petroleum. The United States depends on petroleum for products and services such as fuels, food, transportation and energy. The decrease in the availability of petroleum supplies is leading to an increase in costs for these goods. Scientists hope to replace 36 billion gallons of transportation fuels with biofuels, and 16 billion gallons with cellulosic feedstocks annually.

How you can become more energy efficient:

  • Avoid using your cell phone when it has low reception — it uses more energy than normal

  • Open the windows and doors to get good air flow instead of using air conditioning

  • When boiling water, measure the correct amount of water and cover the pot. It will make the water boil faster and use less energy

  • Use LED lights for holiday decorations instead of normal lights

  • Don’t use a screen saver on your computer — the monitor uses 40 percent of the energy of the whole computer

  • Use light sensors, hand air dryers, and faucets with motion detectors to reduce energy use

  • Seal air leaks around windows and doors in the home with weather stripping or caulk

  • Install a programmable thermostat

  • Replace burned out lightbulbs with new energy efficient bulbs

  • Look for the “Energy Star” label when purchasing new appliances

  • Turn off lights, appliances, and electronics when not in use

  • Power down computers at work over the weekend and during vacation time

  • Clean or change furnace or air conditioning filters regularly

  • Set water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Use low-flow faucets and shower heads