Change Is in the Air: How States Can Harness Energy Efficiency to Strengthen the Economy and Reduce Pollution

Research Report E1401


Sara Hayes, Garrett Herndon, James P. Barrett, Joanna Mauer, Maggie Molina, Max Neubauer, Daniel Trombley, and Lowell Ungar


This study evaluates the implications of using end-use energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. It does so by quantifying the energy, economic, and pollution-reduction impacts of selected energy-saving policies on a state-by-state basis. We evaluate four of the most common and effective energy efficiency policy options available to a state:

  • Implement an energy efficiency savings target
  • Enact national model building codes
  • Construct combined heat and power systems
  • Adopt efficiency standards for products/equipment

The results of this study show that an emissions standard for existing power plants set at 26% below 2012 levels can be achieved at no net cost to the economy. This standard will create 611,000 new jobs, and it will have a positive economic impact on the country. If enacted, the energy efficiency policies in our study can significantly reduce greenhouse gases while states maintain the flexibility to make use of all of their energy resources. The policies and technologies included in our analysis have already been tested and are deployable now. The benefits can be quantified. There is no need to delay.

Click here to download the executive summary.