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Energy Efficiency: Do the Math

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Nevelyn Black's picture
Writer, Independent

Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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As electricity prices rise, saving energy becomes more important.  According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), families will pay 17 percent more for home heating this winter.  The average cost of home heating is projected to increase from $1,025 last winter to $1,202 this season. "These are very high prices and will not be affordable for many households," said Mark Wolfe, executive director of NEADA.  To combat the cold, ratepayers do well to invest or employ energy efficiency strategies.  In most cases, they will face high upfront costs, limitations of existing incentives and knowledge gaps along the way.

The initial costs of energy efficiency features can be expensive but green buildings can eliminate utility bills.  Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, those that qualify can get a 30 percent tax credit.  Consumers can do the math to see if their savings outweigh the initial costs.        

Incentives can bring positive results but the most significant drawback to incentive programs is that they can limit customer investment in energy efficiency.  Customers become programmed to only buy products that merit a subsidy, making other products less desirable.  Risks creates another challenge.  The risk involved with borrowing capital to make changes that could ultimately decrease consumption and therefore decrease sales could be frowned upon.  An uncertain financial future also hinders investment.    

Consumer behavior is listed as a major barrier to energy efficiency.  A study, in the EU, pointed to a lack of awareness on savings potential and a lack of access to trusted information as the causes for slow progress.  In the U.S., the Leadership Group, made up of more than 60 leading gas and electric utilities, state agencies, energy consumers, energy service providers, environmental groups, and energy efficiency organizations, identified key barriers limiting greater investment in cost-effective energy efficiency. Consumer behavior was listed among them.  By relying on behavioral insights from academic research in behavioral science, economics and psychology improvements to the performance of traditional efficiency programs can be applied.  Behavior-based tools and strategies like smart meters, provide data that could motivate consumers to save more energy.

Looking back at 2022, the potential benefits of energy conservation, management and efficiency are substantial.  The Department of Energy has promoted energy efficiency by issuing regulations that increase the efficiency of the nation’s light bulbs.  The agency also proposed an update to residential water heater and furnace energy efficiency standards.  Looking forward, aside from high energy prices, what’s in store for 2023?

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Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Dec 19, 2022

… OK, let’s do some real-world math.

The seemingly mindless push for green energy significantly drives up the cost of energy - California and Germany provide really good examples.

Shutting down fossil generating plants also significantly drives up energy costs, particularly during the inevitable extremes of summer and winter - the recent debacle in Texas is a good example.

Runaway spending by the government is a key driver of the intense inflation being experienced today - look at government income versus expenditures.

Government “efficiency” regulations and mandates significantly  increase the cost of heating & cooling equipment as well as housing and energy. The examples are numerous.

Real-world mathematics leads to the conclusion that the consumer cannot afford energy efficiency because their pockets have been drained by the government. 

Seems to me we are reaching the point where the Left has nearly run out of other peoples money.

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