Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of simultaneously meeting affordability, supply security and climate goals. It reduces the need for expensive new supply investments while shifting economies away from fossil fuel subsidies and making renewables more accessible.
Additionally, energy efficiency reduces electricity demand, relieving congestion on the grid, and preventing outages. Think of it like using more efficient light bulbs – only with even bigger benefits!
Reduced Energy Bills
Energy efficiency upgrades can lower your bills dramatically. Energy-saving lighting, appliances and electronics all reduce electricity usage; buildings that utilize less energy for heating and cooling purposes or possess advanced insulation and air sealing techniques save even more.
Reducing energy usage reduces fossil fuel usage at both power plants and other locations; and its indirect use from producing products we consume that consume energy, which helps lower emissions such as greenhouse gases and air pollutants that pose risks to health.
Energy efficiency also enhances disposable income for families experiencing energy insecurity, where paying the bill may mean making the choice between paying their electricity bill or buying food. Businesses that adopt an effective energy efficiency strategy reap the rewards in reduced operating costs and an enhanced brand image.
Less Fossil Fuel Use
Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, eliminating waste, cutting electricity bills and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Energy efficient purchases pay for themselves through utility savings over their service lifetime, while helping reduce future energy price spikes and supply disruptions.
Enhancing energy efficiency can assist nations in becoming more self-reliant in terms of energy. Reducing demand via energy efficiency helps reduce imports of oil, natural gas and coal which bolster national or regional energy security – with economic benefits including improved balance of payments and less dependence on volatile global markets. Efficiency can also lower carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industry while strengthening renewables’ impact towards meeting climate change targets.
Energy efficiency can help improve health in several ways. It reduces emissions from power plants that cause air pollution and smog; lowers grid load by cutting overall electricity use; prevents power disruptions; helps people avoid high energy bills – thus helping people choose between paying utilities or food and rent payments more easily; helps people pay utility bills in full without needing to sacrifice essential expenses like groceries or rent payments;
Energy-efficient light bulbs, appliances and building insulation help make homes warmer, dryer, and better ventilated to reduce indoor pollutants that contribute to respiratory disease. Studies of low-income households demonstrate how pairing home energy education with weatherization results in reduced asthma symptoms and self-reported health satisfaction scores; similarly in office buildings increased energy efficiency reduces work-related noise nuisance and smog, increasing worker satisfaction and productivity.
Less Stress on the Power Grid
Energy efficiency reduces electricity demand, which allows existing power plants to better serve customers while decreasing the need for new generation and improving grid reliability.
Energy efficiency programs can ease strain on the power grid during times of peak usage – when outages are most likely. Utilities often employ such programs to decrease demand during these peak hours by offering financial incentives, consumer education materials and encouraging the purchase of efficient equipment.
Efficiency can improve system reliability in both deterministic and probabilistic terms, by increasing reserve margin for peak hour loads and decreasing risk that load exceeds available generation during specific hours (Figure 3). It can also enhance transmission and distribution system reliability by decreasing thermal stress on transformers and conductors.
Energy efficiency helps increase affordability by decreasing energy costs for families who pay an disproportionate share of their income for electricity bills, known as high energy burden households. Furthermore, increasing reliability means more money can be allocated toward generation that further improves access to electricity services.
Energy-efficient affordable housing can utilize renewable energy generation technologies to generate some or all of its own electricity at an economical price, further lowering long-term energy costs while making for a more resilient and sustainable power grid.
Research on the impacts of energy efficiency upgrades in low-income homes shows they often provide immediate benefits, including improved thermal comfort and reduced electricity bills. Further study should explore their effects by housing tenure – specifically how they could act as foreclosure prevention strategies for homeowners or asset builders for landlords.