Energy Efficiency Investments and Renewable Energy Purchases Together Are 'Twin Pillars' in Reducing Carbon Emissions

May 24, 2007

Media Contact(s):

Wendy Koch, 202-507-4753, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications

Washington, D.C. — Aggressive investments in energy efficiency in the short run and growing purchases of renewable energy over the long run are a powerful one-two solution for businesses, local governments, and states aspiring to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions now, according to a new report by a pair of clean energy advocacy groups.

The report, The Twin Pillars of Sustainable Energy: Synergies Between Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology and Policy, by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), represents the latest research in steps that can be taken now to combat global warming while improving U.S. energy security.

"Efficiency and renewable resources need each other to win the race for clean and secure energy," said ACEEE Acting Executive Director Bill Prindle. "Efficiency keeps demand growth in check so that renewables can begin to cut emissions and oil imports."

"This report makes crystal clear how efficiency investments and renewable sources can create a more secure energy future for the United States,” said ACORE Co-Chairman Dan Reicher.

Using a compilation of resource assessments, policy analysis, and case studies, the report underscores the dangers of energy use growing too fast and the higher hurdles renewable energy development faces without efficiency gains.

"Policies and programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy generally have been sought on separate tracks. This report demonstrates that their agendas can and should be combined to complement the progress each can make toward a shared goal," Prindle said.

"For mayors of cities committed to reducing carbon emissions, there are dozens of ways to implement helpful programs such as the new Clinton Climate Initiative, including the $1 billion committed by major banks,” said ACORE President Michael Eckhart.

Among the U.S. cities participating in the Clinton initiative are New York, Chicago, and Houston.

Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the report examines key synergies between efficiency and renewables, including: 

  • On hot summer afternoons, efficiency can help reduce peak loads while solar and wind systems can operate at high outputs, reducing the use of high-cost, high-emission peaking generation.
  • Where options for renewable sources currently are limited, such as in the Southeast U.S., the emphasis on efficiency should be multiplied.

Under realistic technology scenarios and the types of policy commitments that are emerging from many states and Congress, the U.S. can reduce its conventional electricity generation and carbon emissions by almost half in a 20-year timeframe.

The report examines key policy areas where efficiency and renewables work well together, including resource standards for utilities, public benefits funds, climate policy, 'zero energy' buildings, trading in clean energy credits, and utility regulatory policies. It contains case studies of both statewide programs and policies, and individual case studies at the building level. It concludes by recommending further steps for study and policy advocacy to apply renewable-efficiency synergies in policies and programs.

The report, The Twin Pillars of Sustainable Energy: Synergies Between Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology and Policy, is available for free download at or a hard copy can be purchased for $25 plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail:


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security,  and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit

ACORE is a 501(c)(3) membership nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. dedicated to bringing renewable energy into the mainstream of the U.S. economy and lifestyle through information and communications programs. ACORE provides a common platform for the wide range of interests in the renewable energy community including renewable energy industries, associations, utilities, end users, professional service firms, financial institutions and government agencies. ACORE serves as a forum through which these parties work together on common interests. Membership information is available at