The Alliance to Save Energy considers building energy codes – which exist to improve building energy efficiency – to be among the most cost-effective means of lowering household utility bills, strengthening U.S. energy security and reducing harmful emissions. The Obama Administration is taking very seriously the risks of climate change and the damaging and disruptive effects of extreme weather on our built environment. In fact, the National Security Council and the National Institute of Building Science convened building sector stakeholders, including the Alliance, at an intensive meeting today in Washington, D.C., to discuss how codes can contribute to resilience efforts.
In the wake of the recent passage of S.2012, Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, we want to take this opportunity to “throwback” to another major piece of energy legislation – the passage of S. 535. One year ago, President Obama made history by signing into law S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act – which to this day remains the only energy law enacted during his presidency. In doing so, he showed that energy efficiency is a win, win, win: it can improve our economy, protect our environment and increase our energy security.
When millions of people around the world gathered on April 22, 1970 to celebrate the first Earth Day, the future seemed precarious. Some of the bleakest predictions involved extinctions, starvation, pollution and empty oil wells. Well, after 46 Earth Days have come and gone, the worst outcomes have been avoided—but significant opportunities to transform our energy system toward a brighter environmental future remain for us to seize. We are marking this year’s Earth Day celebrations with a look back at the impressive gains in energy productivity and the most impactful U.S. energy efficiency policies since 1970.
This Earth Day, almost 170 countries will convene in New York City to sign the COP21 Paris agreement to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius this century. The most important actions will be taking place at home, under the leadership of national, state and municipal governments. The Global Alliance for Energy Productivity urges these policymakers to make doubling energy productivity a pillar of their emission-reductions strategy. Together, we can double global energy productivity and help accelerate ambition on the road from Paris.
While technological advancements in hospitals and medical clinics have resulted in better patient care, they have also resulted in higher energy output and costs. By their very nature, medical facilities tend to consume much more energy than other public buildings: they are occupied by hundreds or even thousands of occupants and employees each day, are in use 24 hours a day, and house energy-intensive activities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), hospitals encompass a mere 2 percent of commercial floor space but use around 4.2 percent of commercial energy. In other words, there is room for significant improvement.
Looking to invest in the efficiency of your home (and help the planet too)? You’re in luck. There are a slew of options available to homeowners today — so many options, in fact, that sometimes they can seem overwhelming. To start, hire a professional to perform a home energy efficiency audit on your house. This will help you understand where the low-hanging fruit and cost savings exist. Some municipalities may offer this service for free. Even if they don’t, it's well worth the initial outlay of money. After an audit, here are a few options to improve your residence’s efficiency.
There is a clear and navigable path forward to deeper energy savings and all the economic and environmental benefits that go along with them. Smart energy policies will increase our energy productivity, enabling us to grow our economy while still controlling our energy use. However, even as the path is starting to emerge, we must work diligently to stay on it. Learn more in this deep dive blog post.
Have you noticed how much has changed in recent years when it comes to light bulbs? Traditional light bulbs (incandescent light bulbs) have been a staple in American homes since Thomas Edison first invented them more than 100 years ago, but changes in technology and new regulations have led to a significant shift in the light bulb landscape towards compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). Consumers now have more choices when it comes to picking a light bulb, which also happen to be more efficient and cost-effective and will last much longer than a traditional light bulb.
Buildings account for approximately 40 percent of U.S. energy use, signaling significant opportunities to reduce energy and cost savings for businesses and consumers. Throughout the 2016 presidential race, we have been encouraged by candidates on both sides of the aisle who have recognized that energy efficiency can provide energy and cost savings for businesses and consumers, greater national security, and a cleaner environment. We welcome additional ideas for strategies that will modernize America’s energy economy from presidential candidates in both parties. Below, we outline proposed building energy efficiency policies from U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
This past year, our family’s combined monthly electric and gas utility bill hit $500 for the first time. It wouldn’t be the last. In fact, even though we use roughly the same amount of energy we always have — perhaps even less — exorbitant energy costs appear to be the new normal for us. This realization put us over the edge. Our utility bills had been rising since we moved into our two-story, four-bedroom Bay Area home a quarter century ago. In response, we had been gradually upgrading the energy efficiency of our home and signing up for dynamic pricing programs that charge more when the power system is stressed and less when it has ample capacity. But $500 represented a tipping point. Drastic action was needed.