Efficiency can meet our energy demand more cleanly, quickly, and cost-effectively than any other available supply option. It offers a bridge between the conventional fossil fuel-based power of today and the clean power of tomorrow.
The United States, in partnership with other leading nations, should lead the world in doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements within five years. By investing in efficiency, we will gain an energy supply resource that is clean, cost-effective, and home-grown.
Rebuilding America: At a time when America's workforce is in crisis and the commercial building sector remains fragile, improving the energy efficiency of the U.S. building sector can be an important part of our economic recovery. The building sector currently accounts for 70% of all electricity and 33% of all natural gas usage, and is responsible for 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. By retrofitting existing buildings, we can create jobs, reduce electricity costs, and reduce global warming pollution. Rebuilding America can put 625,000 people back to work by retrofitting 50 million buildings by 2020. Click here for more information.
Financing Energy Efficiency: Many factors limit the ability of building owners to upgrade the energy efficiency of their buildings, but the biggest is the lack of available capital for these projects. Investing in energy efficient technologies involves a significant up-front cost, and even though efficiency upgrades pay for themselves over time - sometimes in less than a year - the up-front cost barrier is often too much for a building owner to overcome. There are a variety of different financing mechanisms that seek to solve this problem, including Property Assessed Clean Energy bonds (PACE), energy efficient mortgages, Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC), utility bill financing, off-balance sheet financing, and more. The Energy Future Coalition is working to solve the flaws inherent in these programs in order to ramp up energy efficiency investments across the U.S.
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS): A growing number of states - 26 in all - have recognized the critical importance of energy efficiency in meeting their economic, energy, and environmental goals and have set targets for energy savings. The U.S. should follow the example of these forward-thinking state and enact a federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which would set a minimum level for energy savings by a specified date. Alternatively, Congress could choose to include energy efficiency as an uncapped qualifying resource in a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or Clean Energy Standard (CES).
Intelligent Utility Regulation: The Energy Future Coalition wants to change the way utilities are regulated to make energy efficiency the first fuel of choice in the U.S. Currently, most utilities make money by building power plants and selling electricity, not by investing in energy efficiency. This policy unnecessarily burdens ratepayers and contributes to environmental problems associated with energy use. Additionally, utilities are finding it increasingly expensive to build new power plants. However, utilities are uniquely situated to leverage both supply- and demand-side efficiency improvements. We are exploring how utility regulation can best be changed to reward investments in efficiency and benefit consumers.
National Clean Energy Smart Grid: The Coalition organized a large and diverse coalition of grid experts, business leaders, environmentalists, and government officials to chart a strategy to develop a smarter electricity grid that moves clean energy from remote resources to population centers and enables greater energy efficiency. A clean, resilient, and intelligent grid is absolutely necessary to drive real increases in low carbon electricity and improvements in energy efficiency. Click here to learn more about the Coalition's Clean Energy Transmission & Smart Grid Program.