Local & Community Initiatives
Given the importance of small businesses to our national economy, ACEEE has examined successful utility program practices in the small commercial segment. We find there are still significant energy efficiency opportunities. Our new paper describes effective program strategies.
How is energy efficiency connected to community resilience? We answered that question in a report last year, Enhancing Community Resilience through Energy Efficiency. The report found that energy efficiency should be a core resilience strategy because it strengthens energy systems and the communities they serve by providing more reliable and affordable energy.
In a recent report released by ACEEE and Energy Efficiency for All, Lifting the High Energy Burden in America’s Largest Cities, we measured energy burdens in 48 of the largest cities in the United States. Energy burden means the percentage of household income that goes toward energy costs, and we looked specifically at utility energy bills (transportation energy costs are also a significant household expense, but it was outside the scope of the analysis).
Local governments of all sizes can invest days, months, and years into advancing energy efficiency programs and policies. Yet many go unrecognized for their efforts. Because the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard only covers 51 large cities, ACEEE created the Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool so that any community can evaluate itself.
Report: “Energy Burden” on Low-Income, African American, & Latino Households up to Three Times as High as Other Homes, More Energy Efficiency Needed
Data Gauge Impact of Energy Costs on Low-Income, African-American, Latino, and Renter Residents; Low-Income Households in Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, Providence, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Cleveland Suffer Heaviest “Energy Burden”
“How much energy do cities use?” We get that question a lot. The answer is, excepting a few cities, we generally don’t know. Only a handful of cities publish their energy use, and while the Energy Information Administration collects and reports a lot of great data on state- and utility-level energy consumption, they do not report city-level data.
There are over 25 million small enterprises that form the backbone of our national economy. They are critical to the health of local economies, generating well over half of net new private-sector jobs, according to the US Small Business Administration. Many are home-based firms with few employees, but many also occupy commercial retail space. The small business sector uses over 30% of all commercial space, more than 20 billion square feet of buildings to be heated, cooled, and lit up.
This holiday season, New Orleans residents have cause for celebration as they receive an unexpected holiday gift: a new focus on energy efficiency savings.
Cities are responsible for the majority of energy consumption, and local governments can play a critical role in addressing energy and environmental challenges. So, cities have a real opportunity to lead by pushing for ambitious policies to reduce energy waste in their own backyard. New Orleans’ city council did just that with some recent legislation.
The 2015 City Scorecard ranks 51 large US cities across five policy areas on their policies and efforts to save energy. Its focus on policies and other initiatives is meant to identify and highlight important actions cities can take to become more efficient. In the process, it offers the beginnings of an efficiency roadmap for any city that wants to save more energy.
Making sure cities are resilient to a broad array of challenges has become a core concern for anyone involved in urban planning.