For those of you who were hooked by the title, sadly this is the only sentence where Marty McFly will be mentioned. But fear not, movie quotes are still in play.
As mentioned in my last blog entry, commercial building retrofits present a very cost-effective option for reducing energy consumption and utility costs. Not only are there existing federal, state, and utility incentive programs available for these energy efficient retrofits, but energy efficiency also presents America’s best opportunity for energy independence…and given the state of the economy, perhaps America’s only opportunity for the foreseeable future.
Clean, renewable sources of alternative energy are becoming cheaper and more efficient every day. However, infrastructure is still required to deliver alternative energy from its generation centers to population centers. The capital investment for renewable energy technology and its infrastructure can be cost-prohibitive, especially in a recession. Alternative, renewable sources of energy are a must for America’s long-term energy independence, but a “long-term” solution is exactly what they are.
Installing lighting controls or improving building insulation are simple, affordable, job-creating solutions that can be implemented right now and help bridge the gap to a renewable future. While energy efficient standards are in place for new commercial buildings, a recent report by Next 10 in California estimated that “those standards don’t apply to…more than 97 percent of the state’s inventory of commercial space.” According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency will deliver 1.21 Gigawatts “65 percent of worldwide carbon cuts in the energy sector by 2020, and 54 percent by 2030. This means that in 2020 energy efficiency could have almost twice the impact of renewable energy, nuclear power, and clean coal combined”
If we reduce the energy we consume, we’ll need fewer distributed generation resources to meet our demand and diminish the infrastructure and capital investment required for renewable energy.
As America looks to develop its renewable energy portfolio, it should look to complement it with energy efficiency. Neither by itself is a stand alone solution to America’s energy needs, but together they can deliver us from a fossil-dependent today to an energy-independent tomorrow.
For more information on incentive programs and lighting upgrades, hop in your Delorean and visit enLIGHTen America at www.nemasavesenergy.org.