Why Energy Efficiency?
Energy efficiency is our nation’s most abundant energy resource and a critical component of U.S. productivity and environmental sustainability. It is both a significant economic opportunity – representing one of the largest employment sectors in the energy economy – and the single most effective strategy we have for addressing climate change. In fact, research shows that efficiency must be the driving force behind necessary reductions of carbon emissions, accounting for more than 40% of the solution. At the same time, it can save consumers and businesses billions of dollars, strengthen grid reliability and resilience, and drive U.S. innovation and economic competitiveness.
Americans save roughly $2,500 per person annually thanks to energy efficiency.
The Benefits of EE
Energy efficiency reduces energy costs. Energy efficiency gains since 1980 are saving Americans roughly $2,500 per person annually, and consumers who invest in energy-efficient products realize lifetime savings. For example, homes with upgrades such as high-efficiency appliances, HVAC equipment, and insulation can lower utility bills up to 25%, and cars that get 35 MPG will save $850 per year in fuel costs compared to cars that get 20 MHG (at $2.65 per gallon). This is particularly important for lower-income households who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on basic energy services. Learn more about EE and affordability.
Energy efficiency is the single most effective solution to climate change. While emerging technologies in renewable and energy storage are important for climate progress, energy efficiency must be the first solution. Learn more about EE and climate.
Energy efficiency protects our nation’s energy resources. To this day, energy efficiency remains the best way to reduce dependence on outside energy sources by optimizing our domestic supply. Learn more about EE and energy security.
Energy efficiency is one of the largest and fastest-growing job creators in the entire economy. The energy efficiency workforce is by far the largest in the clean energy economy, employing 2.38 million people in early 2020 – five times that of the wind and solar industries combined and 12 times the size of the entire coal industry. Learn more about EE and jobs.
Energy efficiency keeps us healthy. By cutting harmful air pollution and enhancing indoor air quality, energy efficiency helps to protect the health of our communities at a time when this has never been so important. In fact, a 2018 study found that reducing U.S. electric consumption by 15% could prevent 2,000 deaths a year and save up to $20 billion in avoided health costs. Learn more about EE and public health.
Energy efficiency makes our systems more reliable and resilient from disruptions. When energy use is optimized across the grid, it becomes easier for grid operators to reliability provide service and to maintain infrastructure. Energy efficiency also builds community resilience during disruptions, such as efficient buildings maintaining occupant comfort during outages or technologies such as microgrids and CHP systems islanding critical facilities to keep power flowing. Learn more about EE, reliability, and resilience.