ACEEE Blog

Efficiency Tax Credits Are Back Just in Time
January 10, 2013 - 10:45 pm

By Rachel Young, Senior Research Analyst, National Policy


Just in time for tax season, Congress has given American homeowners and businesses a chance to keep a little more of their hard-earned money. Late on January 1, 2013, the “fiscal cliff showdown” ended with the House passing a bill to avert income tax increases for Americans and large cuts in spending for government programs. What many might not have noticed is that the bill, titled the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, includes extensions for energy efficiency tax incentives that had expired at the end of 2011.

The bill extends tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades to existing homes, including purchases made in 2012 and 2013. These residential tax credits cover up to 10% of the cost for energy-efficient new central air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters, windows, insulation, ENERGY STAR metal roofs, and other products. These credits are available for products and upgrades that meet minimum efficiency levels. The credit is capped at $50–500 depending on the type of equipment installed.

Businesses also benefit from this tax extension. Home builders who construct new energy-efficient homes and appliance manufacturers who increase production of very efficient refrigerators, clothes washers, and dishwashers can earn tax credits. The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) website has more information on how to qualify for each of these credits.

There were also a few changes to the tax credits. For new homes, the baseline was revised to the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code, instead of the 2003 Code, which increases the energy savings per home by a modest amount. For dishwashers and clothes washers, the least stringent efficiency tiers were dropped—only higher efficiency equipment is eligible.

Tax season is looming and these extended tax incentives will provide some relief to consumers and businesses that invested in efficiency improvements in 2012 and plan to invest in 2013.

Beyond 2013, the outlook is unclear but at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing on energy efficiency tax incentives, multiple Senators expressed support for continuing some type of incentives. They stipulated that qualification levels should be regularly revised so that only the most efficient products are eligible for credit. If the incentives are renewed for 2014 and beyond, we expect many of the qualification levels to increase. As ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel testified during this hearing, future credit extensions will help advance long-term energy savings and give some assistance to businesses and consumers, all while minimizing the cost to government. 


Harnessing Energy Efficiency to Overcome a Bleak World Energy Outlook
December 20, 2012 - 8:22 pm

By Sara Hayes, Sr. Manager and Researcher, Policy and Utilities


Last month the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2012 and unfortunately the world outlook is not so good. To be more precise, a key conclusion of the report is that “Taking all new developments and policies into account, the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path.” The report forecasts dramatic increases in global energy consumption and found that subsidies for fossil fuels increased by almost 30% from 2010, amounting to $523 billion in 2011. All of this in spite of a long-term global effort to find a solution to climate change. 

Unfortunately, this version of the future doesn’t depart much from what we’ve seen in the past. Certainly there are new findings, but a future where global energy consumption increases dramatically as China, India, and other non-OECD countries develop has been on the horizon for a while. However, the really critical findings in this latest version of the Outlook relate to an opportunity for global leaders to take control of this future by balancing the world’s energy needs with sustainable energy consumption.

The solution?  Energy efficiency.

The Outlook finds that in a future where economically viable energy efficiency measures are implemented, the rate of energy demand growth is halved. The report goes on to describe six areas that need to be addressed if we are going to put all this energy efficiency to work. (The Alliance to Save Energy has also created this helpful fact sheet). IEA recommends raising people’s awareness of energy efficiency and improving its visibility and credibility. The report suggests that improved testing, disclosure, monitoring, and verification would help. The report also observes that there is an uneven playing field in energy markets contributing to a perception that energy efficiency isn’t affordable. To overcome these barriers, the IEA suggests policies to eliminate energy subsidies that encourage consumption and the adoption of policies that incentivize energy efficiency investments.

These steps can help world leaders move our collective futures in the right direction. And as the report points out, without a significant change in business-as-usual, most of the energy efficiency potential in the buildings sector and more than half of the potential in industry will continue to be wasted and we’ll lose the race to meet our climate goals. My takeaway from the World Energy Outlook 2012: It’s time to harness energy efficiency and take the reins of our future.


Three Tax Reforms to Encourage Modernization of the Manufacturing Sector
December 20, 2012 - 3:48 am

By Steven Nadel , Executive Director


Much of the equipment and production processes in America’s factories are decades old and not as efficient as modern equipment and processes in use by many of our international competitors. While some factories have been modernized, many have not. Modernizing these factories will allow them to better compete in world markets by improving product quality and reducing product costs, including savings through reduced energy use. Modernization of our factories will build on several competitive advantages the U.S. now has—low electric and natural gas prices (relative to the rest of the world) and lower labor costs due to higher productivity.

As we emerge from the Great Recession, many industrial firms have capital to invest, but a nudge from the tax code could spur substantial additional investments here in the U.S.  We suggest three possible tax policies that could spur investment in a new ACEEE working paper. The paper recognizes that any incentives need to be low cost because of concerns about the federal budget deficit and a desire by many tax reform proponents to reduce tax rates by reducing tax expenditures.

The first policy we examine would allow repatriation of company profits at a low tax rate, provided these repatriated profits are used to increase a company’s capital investments relative to their average capital investments in recent years. This provision would apply to multinational firms with substantial profits now parked abroad. Since this taps funds now overseas and not yet subject to taxes, the cost to the U.S. Treasury would be low.

The second policy approach would allow accelerated depreciation on increased capital investments in production capacity, allowing companies to reduce their near-term taxes. The federal government would recoup these expenses in the long term since this proposal would only affect the timing of depreciation and not the amount of depreciation. If depreciation periods were cut in half, the amount of the incentive would be similar to the incentive on repatriated profits discussed above.

A third approach would provide repayable tax incentives for increased capital investments. The credit would be taken on taxes in the year the expenses were made, but the credit would then be paid back to the Treasury in subsequent years.  A credit of 35% of the amount of the capital investment increase that is repaid over ten years would provide about the same incentive as the other two approaches.

We recommend that at least two of these approaches be enacted. The first approach would benefit only large multinational firms, while the second and/or third approach should be included in order to benefit firms that primarily serve the domestic market. A firm would only be able to use one of the approaches.

For the commercial sector, a different approach is needed since much of capital investment is for land and buildings and not for energy-consuming systems. Our paper discusses an option to provide accelerated depreciation for purchases of high-efficiency equipment in the commercial sector. We suggest applying the accelerated depreciation to equipment that meets energy efficiency specifications set by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).

For all of these incentives, the costs to the Treasury are low, but the advantages in terms of energy savings and more competitive U.S. manufacturers would be substantial for years to come.

R. Neal Elliott contributed to this blog post.


The World Wants a Solution to Climate Change: Here It Is
December 08, 2012 - 2:19 am

By Sara Hayes, Sr. Manager and Researcher, Policy and Utilities


This week in Doha, Qatar, world leaders are struggling with how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast enough, and in amounts great enough, to protect people from the droughts, food shortages, rising sea levels, and severe weather events that climate change is likely to bring.

Leaders are debating a range of solutions including carbon sequestration and policies and practices to help people prepare for the effects of climate change (“adaptation”). In fact, world leaders have been meeting to discuss possible solutions to climate change for 20 years. Yet the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest resource the world has for reducing greenhouse gas emissions remains vastly underused: energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency means better practices and technological innovations that reduce energy consumption while getting the same or better results. Airtight houses that keep people comfortable. Cities with clean, fast public transit, light bulbs that produce the same amount of light for a fraction of the energy—these practices and technologies have been around for decades, yet they still aren’t the norm. (See results of ACEEE International Scorecard where the highest score awarded for any country was just 67 out of 100.) The question that should concern leaders is, Why?

A new analysis by ECOFYS and commissioned by Philips for the United Nations Climate Change Conference estimates that energy efficiency can generate over a third of the emissions reductions we need by 2020. An ACEEE analysis found that in the United States the potential savings are even greater. Meanwhile, vast amounts of energy are wasted through outdated and inefficient practices while the greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuels used to power these practices continue to billow into the sky.

If the world is going to address climate change in a meaningful way, world leaders must look beyond present policies that cling to old, outdated practices and technologies and instead adopt policies that will shape a future we all want to live in. Energy efficiency will help us get there. 


How CHP Stepped Up When the Power Went Out During Hurricane Sandy
December 06, 2012 - 11:18 pm

By Anna Chittum, Visiting Fellow, Industry


As noted in recent blog posts by Forbes contributor William Pentland and the New York Times’ Andrew Revkin, it’s instructive to look at where the lights stayed on during Hurricane Sandy to understand what makes certain places more resilient than others. While 8.5 million customers lost power during Sandy, a small number of facilities (including residential buildings, hospitals, universities, and public service facilities) kept their power, heat, and critical equipment running.

These facilities were able to do this because they used a technology called combined heat and power (CHP), a suite of highly efficient technologies that can run on a variety of fuels. Unlike traditional backup generators, CHP systems typically provide heat and power to facilities during regular operations. They tend to use natural gas and highly efficient turbines and engines to serve their very local loads, but they can also use biomass or biogas, which can be equally as reliable in times of disaster.

Residential

A CHP system kept the heat and lights running for the over 55,000 tenants of New York’s middle-income Co-Op City housing complex. And it wasn’t just Co-Op City residents. For four days, a CHP system provided all 290 units in a Manhattan residential complex with all its heating, water, and electrical needs, including elevators, until the grid was back up. Though typically home to about 720 residents, the building nearly doubled its population after Sandy as those without power sought refuge among friends and family who lived there. Contrast that with New York City’s public housing facilities, which are often well-suited for CHP, where residents went up to two weeks without electricity and over 15,000 of them were still dealing with no heat or hot water well after that.

Hospitals

Long Island’s South Oaks Hospital relied fully on its CHP system when the hospital pre-emptively disconnected from its soon-to-fail local grid—a repeat of its successful reliance on its  system during the 2003 blackout. Connecticut’s 371-bed Danbury Hospital kept critical facilities running with its CHP system. And while NYU’s Langone Medical Center did not have a CHP system and notably had to evacuate all 215 of its patients when its existing backup plants failed, it was already planning on investing in one as part of a major energy upgrade. That investment will help Langone weather any future Sandy-sized storms.

Universities

The College of New Jersey disconnected itself from the failing local grid and powered its campus with its CHP system, as did Long Island’s Stony Brook University. So too did Princeton University, which used its system to meet its critical on-campus loads for several days when the grid went down. The part of NYU’s campus connected to its CHP system kept its heat and power. Most of the student and faculty housing, though, is not connected and was without heat and power for some time.

Water Treatment Plants

New Jersey’s Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) used backup generators and its biogas-powered CHP system to safely process all the sewage of its 47 municipalities during and after Sandy. While other cities told residents to reduce water consumption as water treatment plants failed and raw sewage entered local watersheds for days, the 550,000 customers of BCUA were able to safely use water as normal.

Resiliency in the Face of Disasters

We’ve seen the importance of CHP in the face of hurricanes before, especially during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana State University never lost power and was able to function in a largely normal fashion immediately after the hurricane due to its natural gas-powered CHP system. For over 50 hours, the CHP system at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi met nearly 100% of the 624-bed hospital’s power, air cooling, and hot water needs while the grid went down around it. Facilities that can offer power, heating, and cooling at critical times can also double as places to house those who are without. During Sandy, New Jersey’s Salem Community College leveraged its CHP system to provide needed electricity and heat to the facility, enabling it to function as the county’s only Red Cross emergency shelter. The blackout of 2003 yielded similar stories.

CHP can play an important role in increasing local resiliency in the face of worsening weather and grid outages, and mitigating increased grid vulnerability due to transmission over long distances. Government leaders are increasingly recognizing this. That’s why hurricane-prone Texas and Louisiana have recently passed bills requiring critical government facilities to conduct feasibility assessments for CHP when buildings are built or undergo major renovation.

Communities should be thinking seriously about how to use more resilient technological approaches such as CHP in the face of more volatile weather caused by climate change. Highly efficient CHP is a win-win-win: facilities save money, reduce their energy use and emissions, and hedge against disasters. 


Ohio Efficiency Supporters Thwart Attack on EERS…For Now
November 30, 2012 - 10:21 pm

By Martin Kushler, Senior Fellow


Congratulations are in order to energy efficiency supporters in Ohio who were able to thwart an attempt by FirstEnergy to ram through an amendment to gut Ohio’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) during the current lame duck legislative session.

Ohio passed a strong EERS in 2008 and has been making steady progress implementing the policy, exceeding the annual energy savings targets each year. ACEEE assisted The Ohio Manufacturers Association in preparing a fact sheet that documented the record of success of the utility energy efficiency programs and the benefits already being realized by consumers in Ohio.

FirstEnergy portrayed its push as a move to “freeze the energy efficiency standard at current levels” because of low natural gas prices, which many have interpreted as continuing programs at the current annual savings level. However, the way the legislative proposal was worded (setting a new cumulative savings requirement at a level that was already surpassed in 2012) would have eliminated any requirement for any future energy efficiency savings—effectively ending the Ohio EERS after 2012. This is the most drastic attack on an existing state EERS that we know of to date.

ACEEE has been pleased to provide data and analysis to the energy efficiency advocates in Ohio who have done a terrific job mobilizing support from many sources, including energy efficiency material suppliers, contractors, utility customer groups, local governments, and other interested parties. Extensive educational efforts with the media and policymakers succeeded in significantly raising the visibility and stakeholder concern about a legislative move that was intended to quietly slip through in a lame duck session.

Energy efficiency supporters in Ohio will need to remain active, however. Part of the reason this attack was thwarted thus far has been procedural—lawmakers weren’t comfortable hastily passing such significant legislation in a lame duck session. FirstEnergy has vowed to continue to pursue their efforts in the regular session in 2013. We will keep you posted as this drama unfolds.

R. Neal Elliott, Associate Director for Research contributed to this blog.


Is Tax Reform the Road to a More Energy-Efficient Industrial Sector?
November 20, 2012 - 9:29 pm

By Ethan Rogers , Senior Manager, Industry


As the nation begins to ponder tax reform next year, we have an opportunity to create a new corporate tax structure that encourages investments that benefit society, such as energy efficiency, as well as the businesses that make these investments. In the report Industrial Energy Efficiency and Tax Reform, released today, ACEEE analyzes current tax reform proposals with the purpose of understanding the potential each has to encourage investments in the industrial sector in general and in energy efficiency in particular. Encouraging industrial modernization is important to energy efficiency because the energy intensity of manufacturing correlates directly to the vintage of the equipment. As older, less efficient equipment is replaced with newer, more efficient equipment, we can anticipate the energy needed to produce a good or service will decrease. Therefore, in addition to encouraging energy efficiency outright, it also makes sense to encourage industrial modernization.

So although none of the corporate tax reforms currently under consideration prioritize energy efficiency, we wanted to know how each might potentially influence investments that might reduce the energy intensity of the industrial sector. The most commonly discussed proposal is that of reducing the corporate tax rate and broadening the base [PDF] (eliminating deductions). But of course this proposal contains no requirements that corporations invest, let alone that they invest in energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is a possible benefit, but only at the margins. Another proposal to boost investment is to allow expensing, or the ability to fully depreciate in one or two years, the cost of capital assets. This is likely to be appealing to companies struggling with cash flow. And by the same logic as mentioned above, newer equipment equals more efficient equipment equals energy savings. But again, the mechanism is passive rather than active.

The report contrasts these proposals with each other and with other proposals from years gone by—and ones that (to this writer’s surprise) are now re-emerging in discussions as potential pathways to address the budget deficit—a pollution or energy tax. Either of these would have a more profound effect on energy use in all sectors of the economy, though to be sure their political viability is much less than the other, more embraced proposals. Lastly we ponder a grand bargain that combines parts of several proposals. In such a compromise, there could be space to encourage energy efficiency.

A key goal of this report was to answer the question, “Could corporate tax reform be good for energy efficiency?” The answer is a qualified “yes.” Tax reform could and should result in more efficient use of energy in all sectors of the country. The devil will most certainly be in the details.


Improving Travel Efficiency at the Local Level
November 15, 2012 - 9:11 pm

By Shruti Vaidyanathan, Senior Transportation Researcher


A comprehensive approach to transportation energy efficiency must include a combination of strategies targeted at both vehicle fuel efficiency and travel behavior. While the federal government has taken the lead on fuel efficiency, local and regional policies that reduce the need for driving are also essential to achieve an efficient and sustainable transportation system.

Today ACEEE released a new local guide to help municipalities and metropolitan regions identify policies to expand transportation choices and improve transportation system efficiency. The toolkit is targeted at local policymakers and stakeholders interested in reducing transportation-related fuel consumption in their communities. Policies addressed in the toolkit are divided into four key categories:

  • Policies to integrate land use and transportation that encourage the creation of compact, transit-oriented, and multi-use communities to enable access to additional transportation choices.
  • Policies that extend transit networks and create integrated street networks that are accessible to all road users be they in cars, on transit, on bikes, or on foot.
  • Pricing mechanisms that provide drivers with an incentive to change their driving behavior by charging more for inefficient travel choices. These mechanisms include congestion pricing schemes, parking fees, and mileage-based fees.
  • Policies that encourage increased use of alternative modes of transportation, including public transit, walking, and biking.

The toolkit provides descriptions of each policy, an outline of relevant stakeholders, and a case study that exemplifies best practices for project implementation and design. It also provides estimates of typical costs and benefits for each policy, based on the Urban Land Institute’s 2009 report Moving Cooler. More information on the calculations used to generate the cost and savings figures, as well as the ability to customize inputs to the calculations, will be available in ACEEE’s Local Energy Efficiency Policy Calculator (LEEP-C), version 2, to be released in early 2013.

Communities can see significant benefits from the implementation of transportation efficiency policies. The adoption of a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, for instance, can reduce community fuel consumption by 8% while saving approximately $670 per capita annually. Policies that encourage the creation of compact, transit-oriented communities have the potential to save $725 per capita annually and cut fuel use by more than 10%. Additional benefits can result from implementing a comprehensive package of strategies.

The toolkit aims to help municipalities take action to achieve transportation-related energy reductions because choosing the right efficiency measures for implementation can be a difficult prospect for community decision-makers, and no one policy can be applied across the board. But strategies outlined in the toolkit can address challenges such as local variations in policy priorities, resources, economies, population, travel patterns, and physical characteristics.


As the Economy Recovers, the Stars Align for Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency
October 25, 2012 - 7:02 pm

By Christopher H. Russell, Visiting Fellow, Industry


The economy took center stage at times during this year’s presidential debates, but scant attention was paid to the manufacturing sector, which remains an important driver of economic growth as well as energy use. Evidence of a resurgent, domestic manufacturing sector has strategic implications for energy policy as well as the economy. Understanding Industrial Investment Decision Making, a new research report by ACEEE, examines the dynamics of capital investment that drives industrial energy use and competitiveness. 

There’s no question that the manufacturing sector struggled during the past decade, as revealed in macroeconomic data [links to PDF]. However, we find uneven changes in output as some industries advanced while others declined. Interestingly, almost all industries boosted their productivity during this time period, due in part to the closure of older, less efficient facilities. In the short run, this leads to higher capacity utilization as surviving production facilities take up the slack, but another force may accelerate this trend. 

Rising costs of foreign operations are causing a growing number of corporations to “re-shore” production facilities back in the U.S. These corporations also have the capital to finance this infrastructure, due to the $2.2 trillion cash balances accumulated by public corporations over the past decade. Together, these trends suggest “the stars are aligning” to drive capital investment in new, domestic manufacturing production facilities.

This industrial renewal is an opportunity to lock in energy savings for a generation for the U.S., and should be taken advantage of by state and utility energy programs. Manufacturing activity remains a significant factor in regional energy supply and demand balances, and energy efficiency potential abounds throughout the manufacturing sector. This manufacturing energy efficiency opportunity will be a challenge for industry managers who tend to prefer low- and no-cost improvements because it’s easier to secure approval for those measures. A more strategic approach would fold energy efficiency into the design and construction of new production facilities and modernization of existing plants. Energy efficiency program outreach may need to evolve accordingly to realize this opportunity. 

Energy efficiency programs that address capital investment activity can support these opportunities. To help start a dialog, Understanding Industrial Investment Decision Making presents results from a survey of industry stakeholders that identifies the nature of capital investment decision-making. With a better understanding of capital investment dynamics, program administrators can work in concert with industry managers to build more efficient and productive manufacturing facilities on U.S. soil to create a more efficient and competitive manufacturing base for the future.


What Is an Energy Efficiency Job?
October 16, 2012 - 8:26 pm

By Casey Bell, Senior Economist and Finance Policy Lead


The impact of investments in energy efficiency extends well beyond reducing energy costs or addressing the environmental impacts of energy extraction and use. These investments provide jobs for American workers and help them to support their families and communities.

ACEEE has just released a series of six profiles of real world experiences in energy efficiency job creation. These profiles describe programs, policies, investments, partnerships, and business models that have catalyzed regional increases in employment. While previous ACEEE work has provided an analytic framework for how jobs are created through efficiency, this paper focuses on the jobs themselves.

Energy efficiency catalyzes employment opportunities that draw upon the broad range of Americans’ skills. Moreover, as companies’ investments in energy efficiency improve their bottom lines, they experience increased competitiveness, which is a potential contributing factor in bringing jobs back to American soil. Each profile serves as an independent portrait of the various driving forces behind energy efficiency job creation, illustrates the diversity of energy efficiency jobs, and demonstrates the extent to which they draw upon Americans’ existing skills and competencies.  

Highlights in the paper distilled from conversations with program representatives and literature review include:

  • OPower: Opower is a privately held software company that partners with utilities to develop feedback reports on home energy performance. Since the launch of the company, OPower has grown to employ more than 240 software engineers, programmers, and sales and marketing experts. 
  • New York City Greener, Greater Buildings Plan: In 2009,The New York City Greener, Greater Buildings Plan was enacted.  Four local laws require, among other actions, annual benchmarking of building energy performance and retro-commissioning. A number of firms have employed energy analysts to meet the need for assistance with compliance, and the subsequent demand for assistance in interpreting benchmarking metrics and applying the information to investment decisions. The city estimates that the laws will generate $700 million in savings and create roughly 17,800 construction jobs over 10 years. 
  • Nissan North America: In 2006, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and amidst rising natural gas prices, Nissan made the decision to prioritize investments in energy efficiency and establish a rigorous energy-management program to control manufacturing costs and become more competitive. By improving the cost-effectiveness of the production process, Nissan is now more competitive, creating and retaining jobs on U.S. soil. 
  • Ohio Low-Income Weatherization: During the ARRA period, the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) weatherized 9,000 homes and expanded its workforce by 400 people and catalyzed a total of 188 indirect and induced jobs in Ohio.  They are now working on approaches to sustain program funding without ARRA funding.   COAD estimates that at full funding, given current demand, the program could support approximately 1,600 jobs over the next 20 years.
  • Johnson Controls, Wisconsin Energy Initiative: In 1992, Johnson Controls worked with the State of Wisconsin to implement energy conservation lighting projects, and expanded their efforts in 1998 to include additional efficiency measures. The total effort created 1,500 annual jobs for more than 50 private-sector companies employing architects, engineers, electricians, and maintenance workers. 
  • General Electric, Appliance Park: Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky is the headquarters for General Electric Appliances, which manufactures over 750 ENERGY STAR-qualified lighting and appliance products. A 2010 Tripp Umbach study commissioned by GE shows that the Appliance Park directly and indirectly generates $1.6 billion in the state from local purchasing and other mechanisms, and supports over 12,000 jobs in the state. For every job at Appliance Park, which employs more than 5,000 full-time employees, an additional 1.5 jobs are indirectly supported through vendor purchases or are induced through the re-spending of a GE employee’s wages.

These profiles primarily illustrate jobs arising from the implementation of efficiency measures, from the supply chain supporting this direct implementation, and from additional dollars circulating in the broader economy that are spent by workers in these categories. What we have not emphasized here are the multitude of jobs that are supported when individuals and businesses redirect the money they save by paying lower utility bills. In other words, energy efficiency does more than drive job creation through installation and investment. The subsequent cost savings from energy efficiency can also be used, in part, to support fuller levels of employment in the broader economy.

As demonstrated through our profiles, jobs supported by energy efficiency are diverse and require a variety of skill sets, many of which are abundant in the American workforce today. In sum, energy efficiency should be viewed as a powerful strategy for sustaining enduring employment that utilizes a huge range of Americans’ skills and expertise.