Benefits of Energy Efficiency

The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network is a state- and local-led effort facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take energy efficiency to scale. Energy efficiency represents one of our nation’s largest untapped energy resources and investing in it has numerous benefits, which are outlined here.

Currently, more than 70% of U.S. energy use, energy bills, and carbon pollution is due to our built environment – our homes, businesses and industry - with a total energy bill of more than $600 billion each year. Nearly one-third of this energy is wasted, stemming from inefficient equipment and appliances, buildings that leak warmed or cooled air, inefficient practices (e.g., over-drying clothes or leaving lights on in an unoccupied room), and other sources.  This waste can be addressed cost-effectively through energy efficient products or systems that use less energy to offer the same or better service as conventional products or systems.[1]  

Numerous studies have shown that investing in cost-effective energy efficiency improvements could save hundreds of billions of dollars nationally over the next 10 to 15 years.[2] [3]

Energy efficiency offers many benefits across the economy, with energy bill savings at the top of the list. As an energy resource, studies show that energy efficiency costs about half the cost of new energy supply.[4]

Additionally, energy efficiency can: 

  • Lower energy costs for American families
  • Enhance the comfort of homes and offices, and increases property values
  • Improve productivity and competitiveness by reducing the cost of doing business
  • Increase energy security, buffering against price fluctuations or energy service disruptions
  • Reduce the need for some energy system infrastructure improvements
  • Improve localized energy system reliability
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks of climate change
  • Provide significant public health and environmental benefits. 

Policies and programs that recognize the benefits of energy efficiency can help deliver improved energy goods and services to lower costs and bring many benefits to American families and businesses. State and local governments across the nation are taking the lead in adopting these policies and offering these programs; their actions are critical to capturing the benefits of this large untapped resource.

[1] Wasted energy at the point of use (as distinct from generation and transmission/distribution).

[2]  National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. 2008. National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Vision for 2025: A Framework for Change.

[3] McKinsey Global Energy and Materials. 2009. Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy.

[4] The Program Administrator Cost of Saved Energy for Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs. 2014.

EE Market Progress Indicators Microsoft PowerPointMicrosoft PowerPoint – a review of key energy efficiency market indicators showing progress nationwide, in PPT form so slides can be pulled for other presentations