Connecticut may be a small state, but in recent years it has become a big leader in energy efficiency. As one of only seven states with a formal goal of achieving all cost-effective energy efficiency, Connecticut has consistently ranked among the top ten in ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
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.
Making sure cities are resilient to a broad array of challenges has become a core concern for anyone involved in urban planning.
Even when the economy is doing well, economic growth and job creation always seem to be at the center of focus for policymakers at every level of government. So it’s only natural that when energy efficiency policies and programs are being discussed one of the questions that often comes is how will proposed initiatives affect jobs.
Every few years, a new paper comes out about the rebound effect and the issue receives some short-term attention. (When a consumer or business buys an efficient car or air conditioner, they may use their energy-efficient equipment a little more often or may spend some of their energy bill savings on things that use energy—these are examples of rebound effects.) ACEEE wrote a paper on the rebound effect in 2012, concluding that both direct and indirect rebound effects exist, but they tend to be modest.
This winter, ACEEE, in partnership with Energi Insurance Services, will host a second gathering of select members of the Small Lenders Energy Efficiency Community (SLEEC) in Washington, D.C. The initial SLEEC convening in October 2013 brought together small- to medium-size lenders to discuss strategies for expanding activity in the market for energy efficiency financing.
After a long warm-up, energy efficiency is taking its rightful place as a starting player in the clean energy game. This spring, we’ve seen both the public and the private sector put serious resources into helping build financing solutions to help efficiency reach the scale it needs.
The moment we have been waiting for has arrived! The Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), a financing platform that will open the market for energy efficiency investment to institutional investors, is open for business. WHEEL acts as a virtual financial warehouse for relatively small individual loans, holding them until there are enough loans to attract attention from large investment houses.
Recent months have seen some exciting developments in energy efficiency finance. Investment funds, capitalized at about $200 million, are set to break into the potentially extensive market for energy efficiency projects in the buildings sector.
Proponents of energy efficiency believe that it not only saves energy and money, it creates jobs. The stronger the evidence that energy efficiency programs and polices create economic opportunity and jobs, the greater the likelihood that federal, state, and local governments will support them. Managers of existing programs use a variety of methods to monitor and evaluate their job creation impacts in order to justify and extend the investment.