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Energy Efficiency: the Road to Savings

With the release of the federal Clean Power Plan (CPP) to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent nationally by 2030, the country is abuzz with energy efficiency talk.  We all know that practicing energy efficiency is an important step to reducing harmful pollution, but did you also know these three facts?

1.) Energy efficiency costs less…  

According to research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), efficiency programs aimed at reducing energy waste cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt hour.  Producing the same amount from sources such as fossil fuels can cost two to three times more.

Efficiency also decreases the amount of power needed from the grid, and consequently reduces the need to build costly power generators to supply it.

2.) …which ends up saving YOU money.

For each dollar invested in electric energy efficiency programs, $1.24 to $4.00 in total benefits accrue for all customers, according to ACEEE’s report.  These savings reflect avoided energy and capacity costs, lower energy costs during peak demand periods like heat waves, avoided costs from building new power lines, and reduced pollution.

3.) Energy efficiency= the way to meet CPP goals

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the CPP last week, many were surprised to see that energy efficiency was not listed as one of the “building blocks” to help states achieve carbon reductions.  (The reason has primarily to do with making the plan as litigation-proof as possible and ensuring the EPA doesn’t overstep its authority.)

Concerned parties needn’t worry, however.  The plan gives states the flexibility to fully deploy energy efficiency to help meet individual targets. In fact, efficiency could be the key to most states’ compliance plans.  Previous analysis from ACEEE showed that under the draft rule of the CPP, two-thirds of the required emissions cuts could be achieved by adopting common energy efficiency policies.

Of course, when we’re discussing energy efficiency and the CPP, we’re talking about large-scale, statewide efficiency programs.  But you can also individually save hundreds of dollars per year by practicing energy efficiency in your home.  As a first step to savings, consider joining CUB Energy Saver, CUB’s free tool that builds a customized energy-saving plan for  you home and rewards you for cutting your energy use.

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  1. REPLY
    A frugal environmentalist says

    Actually, Megan, you are wrong. Since the requirement is for a reduction in total emissions, any electricity used in excess of what we are using today would need to be from zero emission sources. So, if I switch from dirty natural gas as a heat source for my home to clean, zero emission, heating from a heat pump (zero because the law REQUIRES no additional emissions from doing so) I will have greatly reduced my household emissions. The same is true if I ditch my gasoline car and drive a Chevy Volt instead. The best strategy is for all of us to actually switch everything to all electric as far as home heating and fuel for our automobiles. The law caps the grid emissions so we would in effect have zero emission homes and autos. The grid is getting greener so we may as well increase our use of it. Wind, solar, bio-mass and nuclear. Anything but dirty natural gas.

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