Energy efficiency is the foundation of decarbonizing our power system – reducing the need for new generating capacity overall and significantly improving the economic performance of the energy system. Former U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson once described energy efficiency as the "silent hero" to stop global warming. It is already the region’s second largest electric power “resource,” after hydropower.
Using energy wisely and storing more for later create great co-benefits with saving people money on their bills -especially lower income households, improving our health, reducing energy demand to make it cheaper and more reliable and creating more local jobs.
Recently the American Council on an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked both Washington and Oregon in the top ten states of making great strides in reducing energy use across their economies, including with appliance standards, in buildings, the transportation sector and also with the electrical grid.
Progress in energy efficiencies over the last three decades is a strong affirmation of the economic and environmental value of energy efficiency as a resource. There continue to be enormous efficiency opportunities and needed solutions, statewide but also in major jurisdictions in the region.
The Multnomah County Commission just unanimously approved a resolution that will ensure all new county buildings —including county libraries, courthouses and community centers—are built to be fossil-free and utilize 100% clean and renewable energy.
We can rebuild and recover in a more just, clean, healthy, and smart way—while creating lots of high quality green jobs along the way. One of those climate-smart and equitable solutions to build back better than before is right in front of us, and all around us: our homes and other buildings.
Mitigating climate change requires holistic action across all sectors of our society. The good news is that actions that reduce our carbon emissions often have positive benefits on other aspects of our communities and economy. This is why we’re excited to support the Clean Buildings Package of legislation in Washington State.