If you’ve gone for a jog or visited your neighborhood gym recently, you may have noticed new accessories popping up amid the sea of iPhones and earbuds. There’s a good chance that some of your fellow runners or gym goers have been using wearable performance monitors—like the Fitbit Flex or Jawbone UP—to track their physical activity. Or perhaps you’ve seen a post from a friend on Facebook bragging about their new personal record for fastest mile. The idea behind these devices and apps is simple: the better you track performance, the more knowledge you have to improve your routine.
In my college dormitory, there was a large, bright poster in the basement laundry room. The poster encouraged us to always use the “cold” setting on the washing machine in order to save energy. It probably cited an EPA figure that 90% of energy used in laundry goes toward heating water. As an environmental science major, I dutifully used the cold cycle already, but I remember noticing that most of my classmates did not.
When trying to change behavior, posters alone don’t work.
State and local governments are laboratories for innovation in energy efficiency policies and programs. Policymakers, regulators, and citizens at all levels increasingly recognize that energy efficiency is crucially important to their economies and are increasingly taking action and seeking information on policies and programs in their communities. Today ACEEE is launching a new database tool that highlights the energy efficiency leadership—and opportunities for improvement—of state and local governments around the United States.
There are many tips out there about saving energy in your home. So many, in fact, that it can leave you wondering, “Well, what are the things that I should focus my attention on to really cut down on energy use and energy bills?” In my former job as an energy auditor, one of the most frustrating things I encountered was hearing the many misconceptions about how energy is used in the home. This old conventional wisdom really confuses honest efforts to cut down on energy use and lower monthly utility bill payments.
The need for innovative ways to reduce residential energy use is growing. States are setting increasingly aggressive energy savings targets for utilities and program administrators, as well as longer-term energy reduction goals that call for even greater savings. In California, for example, their goal calls for a 40% reduction in existing homes’ energy use by 2020.
The recently released 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranked 34 of the largest U.S. cities on their efforts to save energy—but we don’t think large cities should have all the fun. In order to help other cities see where they stack up, today ACEEE released the Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool (Version 1.0 BETA).
One of the most overused misnomers in the energy efficiency field is the term “hard to reach” for customer segments that aren’t easily served through existing utility customer-funded programs and marketing channels. The reality is that the segments covered by this term shift constantly as new programs or business models are developed that allow segments to be served cost-effectively, at scale.
Chicago is making an existing energy-use disclosure ordinance more user friendly for citizens. In the 1980s, the city passed a law allowing potential homebuyers and renters access to utility information for houses and apartments of interest to them. While this gave consumers the opportunity to obtain valuable information on a major cost of housing (one that sets the average U.S. homeowner back about $2,000 a year), few prospective buyers or tenants took advantage of the access that the law provides.
From the increased popularity of front loading washing machines, to an increased use of cold water detergents and wash cycles, consumers are becoming more attuned to energy- and water-saving technology and practices. Improvements in clothes washing are helping consumers save more energy and water than ever, but there are still significant savings to be realized in the residential sector and even more so in the largely untapped commercial laundry sector.
Washington, D.C.—A new analysis of devices and equipment commonly found in U.S. homes and businesses concludes that these products, with more than 2 billion in use, consume more energy each year than many large countries use to power their entire economies.