Promoting Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a critical way to save consumers money and protect the natural environment. By strengthening building energy codes and appliance efficiency standards, as well as investing in weatherization programs and combined heat and power technology, we can dramatically reduce our power consumption. These efforts pay for themselves quickly by lowering utility bills, as well as creating jobs, improving the reliability of the electric grid, and reducing dependence on foreign energy sources.
Energy efficiency is the quickest and cheapest way to combat climate change. Electric power plants are the largest U.S. source of greenhouse gas emissions. When we use less electricity, those emissions decline. Efficiency alone will not stop climate change. We also need to shift from burning fossil fuels to using renewable energy sources like solar and wind as quickly as possible. But it can give us a jumpstart on reducing emissions and help ease the transition to a sustainable energy infrastructure.
Several states have taken the lead on energy efficiency, demonstrating that efficiency policies produce tremendous consumer, economic and environmental benefits that easily pay for their costs. At present, there is a major opportunity to advance efficiency even in states that have given it little or no emphasis in the past. The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which the agency intends to finalize by June 2015, will require states to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Energy efficiency should be a key component of state plans to meet the EPA’s emission targets. It is vital that the EPA strengthen the energy efficiency targets in its proposed rule—and that states advance efficiency as much as possible in the multi-year process of implementing the rule. That focus will pay off several times over: Energy efficiency it saves consumers money, spurs the economy, and helps prevent climate change.