In 2020, the US Senate passed a resolution that officially designated today, October 7th, as Energy Efficiency Day “in celebration of the economic and environmental benefits driven by efficiency”. By proclaiming this day as a national holiday, the major goals of this resolution are to save money, cut pollution, and create jobs by switching the majority of our energy use to renewable sources. As of right now, 29 universities, state, county, and city governments have signed on to participate in this year’s Energy Efficiency Day. It is common knowledge among scientists and environmentalists alike that the burning of fossil fuels for energy use is the largest contributor to climate change. But does it have to be? Many argue not. Economists, climate scientists, and healthcare professionals (among many others) have offered compelling evidence of the benefits of renewable energy.
General Facts about Energy Efficiency
- Since 1990, savings from energy efficiency gains have averted the need to build 313 large power plants and has delivered cumulative savings of nearly $790 billion for Americans. (ACEEE)
- Efficiency could provide one-third of total expected electricity generation needs by 2030, avoiding the need for an additional 487 large power plants.
- Energy efficiency employs 2.25 million people in the US today – more than the number of people who work in the coal, oil, gas, electricity and even renewable energy industries combined. (ACEEE)
- Rural households, especially low-income, nonwhite and elderly, spend an average of 40% more of their incomes on energy than their metropolitan counterparts. Energy efficiency upgrades could lessen these energy burdens and save households more than $400 a year. (ACEEE)
- Reducing annual electricity use by 15% nationwide would save more than six lives every
- day, prevent nearly 30,000 asthma episodes each year, and save Americans up to $20
- billion through avoided health harms annually. (ACEEE & Physicians for Social Responsibility)
Source: AACEE Blog, GENERAL FACTS about Energy Efficiency https://www.energyefficiencyday.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fast-Facts-about-Energy-Efficiency.pdf
Bonus Fact: The United States is the second largest consumer of energy.
Energy Efficient Employment in America
One of the most widely-used counter arguments for renewable energy sources is that it will result in significant job losses for those working in the coal, oil, and gas industries. However, studies show that energy efficiency is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the US, employing nearly 2.5 million people. There is substantial projected growth for all areas of industry within the energy-efficiency sector, including manufacturing, construction, and wholesale trade. With the continual advent of renewable technology, there are more and more opportunities for businesses and organizations to provide energy efficient options to consumers as well as become more energy efficient themselves.
While reducing inefficient energy use will require the cooperation of the coal, oil, and gas industries, there are many options for individuals looking to reduce their personal energy use:
- Start with an Energy Audit.
- Start with an Energy Audit.
- Unplugging devices not currently in use. This includes chargers, computers, televisions, light fixtures, etc.
- Switching to LED lightbulbs.
- Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioners.
- Turn down your thermostat or water heater to 120 F rather than the standard 140 F.
- Replace or clean the air filter in your furnace once a month.
- Only do full loads of laundry, and use cold water.
- Use Smart Strip Surge Protectors to ensure your appliances aren’t using energy while turned off.
- Consider installing a Low-Flow Shower Head.
- Use more blankets and sweaters during the winter instead of turning up the thermostat.