Report Highlights Far-Reaching Benefits of Energy Efficiency
WASHINGTON — A report from a trio of entities specializing in energy efficiency and sustainability quantifies their impact across key sectors of the American economy and demonstrates how efficiency investments reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills and improve public health.
The 2023 Energy Efficiency Impact Report was released by the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
It underlines that efficiency investments since 1980 have reduced annual energy expenditures in the United States by nearly $800 billion and driven down energy consumption per household by 16%.
By prioritizing energy efficiency investments through implementation of recently passed federal legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, states and federal agencies can cut energy costs for American families, improve energy resilience and reduce carbon emissions, the three organizations say.
“We’ve reduced energy waste dramatically for years, but in the face of the climate crisis and rising energy costs, we have so much more to do,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel.
“This report shows that we can build on our progress with energy efficiency to make an even bigger impact ahead. The recent federal climate law gives everyone from state and local officials to businesses to individual households a huge opportunity to cut costs and emissions through efficiency,” Nadel said.
The report also underscores the powerful impact of energy efficiency as a driver of economic development and job creation.
Through investments in energy efficiency since 1970, the U.S. has decoupled energy consumption and economic growth — increasing energy productivity by 170%.
Today, 40% of all energy jobs in the U.S. relate to energy efficiency — totaling 2.2 million workers in 2021. The report also reinforces energy efficiency as a key climate solution: In 2021, the U.S. would have produced 78% higher carbon emissions without the energy efficiency investments already in place.
“This report showcases both the progress that has been made and the promise of what is possible when it comes to energy efficiency,” said Paula Glover, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.
“Whether it’s reducing carbon emissions, decreasing Americans’ energy bills, increasing grid reliability or a host of other benefits, energy efficiency has proven to be a dramatically underappreciated and powerful resource,” Glover said.
Although they acknowledge that emerging technologies such as zero-emission transit buses and net-zero energy buildings are still in the early phases of adoption, the authors conclude there are still plenty of existing opportunities to further cost savings and emissions reduction through energy efficiency in the near term, such as adopting stronger energy codes for new buildings and building performance standards for existing ones.