Energy Efficiency Programs
Turning on a light switch is a simple act that masks a very complex system. That light is powered by the electric grid, the world’s largest machine, operating in real time. We are growing more and more dependent on electricity, but we often take this incredible machine for granted—until the power goes out, as can happen with extreme weather events. Ensuring grid reliability and preventing interruptions requires balancing electricity supply and demand.
California’s official push toward a carbon-free electricity system, now awaiting the governor’s signature, will need dramatic contributions from energy efficiency to succeed.
With the promising trend of plunging prices for renewable energy, there may be a temptation to wonder whether energy efficiency is still cost effective. The answer is a very affirmative “yes.” As companies, cities, and states work to keep energy costs down and meet ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the choice should not be energy efficiency versus renewable energy. To meet these goals, we need to maximize both resources.
Electricity bills don’t make for terribly exciting reading, but as boring as they may look, there is much more going on beneath the surface. Whereas the price most people pay for electricity remains steady from month to month, electricity costs can change dramatically from one hour to the next for the utilities that send the bills. For example, weather can cause demand to spike, raising prices as well, and suddenly the cost of the electricity is much different from the price we see on our bill.
Home buyers in Massachusetts may soon be able to better gauge the energy efficiency, or inefficiency, of their potential future homes. On Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker introduced legislation that would establish energy performance ratings and disclosure requirements for homes across the state.
In a new three-part video series, ACEEE explores how energy efficiency can improve people’s health. We hear the stories of homeowners in three states. Our first part explored efficiency’s impact in rural areas. To look at its effect in urban areas, Part Two takes us to Baltimore, MD.
Intelligent efficiency technologies such as learning thermostats and smart watches are making it easier to track and quantify the many benefits of saving energy. Fitness trackers are allowing researchers to evaluate the health benefits, new software apps are enabling building managers to check occupant comfort, and social media posts are helping utilities address resiliency concerns by assessing the scope of power outages.
Residents and businesses across the country are saving energy and money thanks to smart state policies. Their stories help explain why some states climbed in our 2017 State Scorecard or maintained strong standings. This year for the first time, we included stories of individuals and communities in our state-specific score sheets.
ACEEE’s 2017 National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, held October 30-November 1 near Phoenix, Arizona, explored several emerging areas in the field, such as the health-related benefits of saving energy. This ninth biennial ACEEE “EER” Conference, like prior ones since 2001, featured a packed agenda. ACEEE has posted all the presentations on our web site, available for free public access.
Energy efficiency programs are especially important for low-income customers. Well-designed programs can help relieve the significant energy burdens faced by low-income families and also provide benefits like increased comfort and healthier homes. But getting these programs right takes careful planning.