Many people decide to make energy efficiency home improvements because they want to save on their energy bills — but the good reasons definitely don’t stop there. Energy efficiency also delivers major benefits for the environment, your community, and society at large.
The cleanest (and cheapest) kilowatt-hour of electricity is the one that never has to be generated. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that U.S. energy efficiency measures have eliminated the need for the construction of 313 large power plants since 1990, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by 490 million tons in 2015. This also means significant avoided emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, lung-blackening particulate matter, and other harmful pollutants.
Continuing improvements to our energy efficiency – including in our homes – would create massive clean air and health benefits. ACEEE’s recent report “Saving Energy, Saving Lives” projected the health impacts of an additional 15% reduction in electricity consumption, and found that it would save six lives a day (or over 2,000 lives a year), avoid 30,000 asthma episodes a year, and produce $20 billion in annual cost savings from reduced negative health impacts – enough to pay the health insurance premiums for nearly 3.6 million families.
Good, Local Jobs
An incredibly wide range of sectors contribute to improving energy efficiency, making it difficult to put an exact figure on the number of jobs specific to this sector. However, the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report estimates that about 2.25 million Americans spend some or all of their time working with energy-efficient technologies and services in construction, manufacturing, distribution, design, and other jobs. For a sense of perspective, that’s more than a third of all U.S. energy industry workers counted by DOE – and twice as many jobs as in the coal, oil, and gas industries.
67,000 of those energy efficiency jobs counted by the Department of Energy were added in 2017 alone – more than any other sector of the energy industry – and there’s plenty of opportunity to continue this growth. Another ACEEE report focused on the role of state-level policy action projected that states could save or create 611,000 jobs nationwide by 2030 by adopting stronger energy efficiency policies. And that’s without any national energy efficiency policy action!
A Strong, Fair Economy
The ACEEE also estimates that energy efficiency is saving U.S. consumers $90 billion a year on electricity bills, or about $460 in annual savings per household. And beyond the employment impacts noted above, ACEEE’s 2030 scenario estimates that we could add more than $17 billion more to America’s annual GDP through those state-level energy efficiency actions.
Not only that, but energy efficiency savings have the greatest positive impacts on lower-income families. A joint ACEEE/Energy Efficiency for All study found that low-income households spend three times as much on their energy bills than other households. So, as we increase access to energy efficiency savings for all, we’re also building a more equitable economy
Bringing Energy Efficiency Home
So, while it’s often hard to “see” energy efficiency at work – it’s been called “the invisible fuel” for a reason – it’s something that’s embedded to varying degrees in every building you see, as well as in our air quality and our economy. And when you invest in your own home’s energy efficiency, you’re not just making a smart decision for your household budget, you’re also joining a movement that’s quietly making a huge positive difference in the world.
That’s why Mosaic has gone beyond solar to provide financing solutions for a variety of home improvements, including investments in roofs, windows, HVAC systems, and other upgrades critical to improving your home’s energy efficiency. Learn more about home improvement loans through Mosaic here – and, if you’re a home improvement contractor, click here to learn how you can offer simple, fast financing through Mosaic as part of your business.