Time for Energy Efficiency in the South

Energy Efficiency in the South

Georgia Tech and Duke University researchers collaborated to produce "Energy Efficiency in the South" for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance.

We already know that energy efficiency offers a “vast, low-cost energy resource” … so why has a new report, Energy Efficiency in the South, triggered a strong reaction from Grist, the New York Times, and many people online?

Maybe the reaction was generated by the prestige of the research team that collaborated on this report, but I’d like to think it is the crystal-clear message that energy efficiency can help build a better Southern economy while it helps solve global warming.

The report demonstrates that aggressive energy efficiency in the South would mean:

The benefits of the energy efficiency programs and policies in this study far outweigh the costs: annual energy bill savings of $40.9 billion by 2020, compared to annual costs of just $15.8 billion.

2009 energy efficiency budget data collected by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency shows that the south lags the country in investment.

2009 energy efficiency budget data collected by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency shows that the South lags the country in investment, not to mention energy savings impacts.

Make no doubt about it, the South needs more energy efficiency. According to data from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, the South lags the country in energy efficiency investment.

We’ve also mapped energy savings by state (it isn’t just about spending). And don’t take our word for it – consider that ACEEE ranked all 17 Southern states (including DC) in the bottom 30 in its most recent scorecard.

Energy efficiency can work in the South.

The effort to bring energy efficiency to the South has met with some fierce resistance from utilities, whose financial interests are often summed up best by “sell more power.” Persistent myths such as “the lowest electricity prices in the country … prohibit or inhibit our ability to be more energy efficient” and “low-income households are truly unable to participate in any energy efficiency and conservation efforts” are wrong, and block constructive consideration of aggressive energy efficiency programs.

Myths and … misdirection. Hey, let’s talk about how “smart” it would be to make our grid more efficient! (p.s. – Smart won’t save much energy.)

The nation knows how to invest in energy efficiency. We know how to do it quickly (read about “quick start” programs or the “rapid deployment toolkit“). Overcoming entrenched opposition in our region, however, will not be easy.

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There is indeed much to be gained through energy efficiency in the South, especially through the implementation of much stronger building energy codes in many states. You can learn more about building energy codes in general at the Building Codes Assistance Project’s (BCAP) new website OCEAN at http://bcap-ocean.org. You can also access state-specific building energy code information for the South by clicking on the desired state on the maps at http://bcap-ocean.org/code-status-maps.

Comment by Paul Karrer on April 14, 2010 4:53 pm

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Comment by solar water heater on April 16, 2010 2:29 am

I sure hope every state supports energy efficiency program and think of cost-effective ways to conserve energy consumption. One of the excellent ideas to save energy is with the use of window tints. While most window films are for reducing solar heat gain in the summer, low-e films both block summer heat and improve winter heat retention. Window tint professionals at http://www.TintBuyer.com informs people about the relevant facts on window tints such as the type of tints, quotations and will help you locate the best professional tinter near your area.

Comment by Jane on April 16, 2010 7:07 am

[...] CleanEnergy.org pointed to this report by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency that also found the South lagging behind the rest of the country in energy efficiency. [...]

Pingback by Texas can meet all our energy needs for next decade through efficiency alone, save $330 per household and create 130,000 new jobs says new report from Georgia Institute of Technology and Duke University « TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Tex on April 16, 2010 11:51 am

[...] Check out this blog by John D. Wilson, MPP Director of Research for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy for details. [...]

Pingback by Time for Energy Efficiency in the South « Southern Energy Network's Blog on April 19, 2010 4:10 pm

We researched numerous ways to save energy in our home and found the most cost effective was to install window tint in our home. We had older inefficient windows from the 1980′s and our living room ended up feeling like an oven during the summer. We decided to purchase window tint kits from SnapTint. All I can say is that it worked. The window tint cut the heat transfer from the sun by 50% and the room does not become an oven anymore. The kits were inexpensive and are a do it yourself project. One of the best investments we have made in a long time.

Comment by Harry Duncan on August 6, 2010 12:53 am

I agree with everything in this article. Even if the we do have the lowest utility cost now, it won’t be that way forever. With China and India consuming more and more oil everyday to build and power their industries and infrastructure, it will be only a matter of time (and may already be that way) Before lowest utility costs is a relative term.
Even with low electric rates, profits in energy savings can still be made through efficiency investments. But it’s hard to find information on what works in the south. Most home efficiency information is geared toward northern homes. And what works in the north doesn’t always work in the south. That can lead to frustrated home owners who don’t believe that energy efficiency works in the south.
But there is one page I know of, http://www.coolsouth.com. It’s a web page that is dedicated to information for homes just in the southern united states. It’s time we stop sitting in the warming water till it boils and start saving some money!

Comment by Travis Hooper on June 23, 2011 7:52 pm

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