Green Business Bureau Blog


New Map Tool Highlights Energy Waste, State by State


Investing in energy efficiency is one of the largest opportunities we have to strengthen our economy and reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions.

Recent research and a new interactive map from Rocky Mountain Institute show how efficiency varies throughout the United States.

While it’s not news to many that some states use their electricity more efficiently than others, what is surprising is the size of the gap between states.

If the rest of the country achieved the level of efficiency of the top 10 states, we would save 30 percent of U.S. electricity consumption, or 1.2 million gigawatt hours.

This woudl translate to savings of $100 billion on electricity bills, cutting the equivalent of 60 percent of coal-fired electricity, or avoiding 779 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

In fact, if less-efficient states matched the efficiency levels of top-performing states, we could wipe out enough carbon dioxide emissions to offset both the Netherlands’ and the United Kingdom’s emissions for a year!

Measured in terms of electric productivity—how much gross domestic product is generated for each kilowatt-hour consumed—New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, and California lead the way.

Using efficiency to meet electricity demand offers a tremendous boon for any state’s economy—saving money and creating new jobs. This is especially true for states on the lower end of the curve, like Alabama and Kentucky.

So what are we asking states to do? Proven tactics include creating more efficient building codes and making efficiency profitable for electric utilities. Our next round of research will analyze how to close the electric productivity gap most effectively.

Cost savings are well-documented. In California, the price of efficiency programs has averaged 2 to 3 cents per avoided kilowatt-hour—about one-fifth the cost of electricity generated from new fossil-fuel plants. The new U.S. stimulus bill allots billions to improve the energy performance of federal buildings and modest-income homes.

Achieving high levels of efficiency is not just a matter of policy, though. We will have to use electricity more efficiently in our homes and where we work.

Hugely profitable opportunities exist everywhere, from lighting and appliances to insulation and our heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. If there’s one true takeaway message from this blog post, it’s this:

It’s time to get moving.

Source: Mathias Bell


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