New Report Details Progress On Energy Efficiency

The report quantifies recent progress on energy efficiency and points to critical opportunities ahead for buildings.

energy efficiency
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Energy efficiency investments help reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills, and improve public health. The 2023 Energy Efficiency Impact Report, released by the Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), quantifies recent progress on energy efficiency and points to critical opportunities ahead as consumers face increasing energy costs.

According to the report, efficiency investments since 1980 have reduced annual energy expenditures in the U.S. by nearly $800 billion and driven down energy consumption per household by 16%. By prioritizing energy efficiency investments through implementation of recently passed federal legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, states and federal agencies can cut energy costs, improve energy resilience, and reduce carbon emissions.

The report highlights the power of energy efficiency as a driver of economic development and job creation. Through investments in efficiency since 1970, the U.S. has decoupled energy consumption and economic growth—increasing energy productivity by 170%. Today, 40% of all energy jobs in the U.S. relate to energy efficiency—totaling 2.2 million workers in 2021. The report also reinforces energy efficiency as a key climate solution: In 2021, the U.S. would have produced 78% higher carbon emissions without the energy efficiency investments already in place.

“We’ve reduced energy waste dramatically for years, but in the face of the climate crisis and rising energy costs, we have so much more to do,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “This report shows that we can build on our progress to make an even bigger impact ahead.”

The report shares opportunities to further cost savings and emissions reduction through energy efficiency, such as adopting stronger energy codes for new buildings and building performance standards for existing ones. While emerging technologies such as zero-emission transit buses and zero-net energy buildings are still in the early phases of adoption, they will play a role in advancing an equitable and low-carbon future. Additional key findings include:

  • Energy efficiency investments have reduced today’s energy expenditures by approximately $800 billion and federal funding for energy efficiency programs have increased by 61% in the last decade.
  • Utility investments in energy efficiency have grown, achieving 16% more electricity savings and 94% more gas savings in 2020 than in 2011.

The Energy Efficiency Impact Report, first published in 2019, features up-to-date figures on energy efficiency investments and impacts across the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors.

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