Rasstock via Shutterstock.com

Our Campaigns

The Cleanest Energy: Conservation & Efficiency

Goal: Convince 10 states to pass laws to improve energy efficiency, and provide citizens with actions to take at home and in your community.
As energy waste goes down, savings go up

The amount of energy America is wasting is almost too big to believe. In 2018, the nation wasted two thirds of the energy that it consumed. While this waste is largely caused by inefficient, non-renewable energy production systems, the ways we use energy in our homes, businesses and travels also contribute to our waste problem.

But the good news is that the path forward is clear. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that we can reduce our overall energy usage by 40 to 60 percent below current levels by midcentury, simply by using better technologies and eliminating waste across our economy.

Reducing energy use creates big savings—for our planet, our climate and our health. More efficient energy use will clean up our air and help combat climate change. As an added bonus, reducing energy consumption results in lower energy bills.

The next step in a bold vision

We can address the largest environmental challenges of our time by shifting toward 100 percent renewable energy. And the fastest and easiest way to get to 100 percent is to reduce the amount of energy we need in the first place. So first things first: let's cut our energy use and energy waste. That means saving energy in our homes and businesses and reducing the amount of energy we use for transportation. 

Everyone can pitch in by taking action at home, at work and in their communities. At the same time, we need strong policies to ensure that we have better, more energy-efficient buildings, appliances and programs that help save energy. The Cleanest Energy campaign is focused on three arenas in which we can make the most immediate progress:

SpeedKingz via Shutterstock.com

1. Reducing residential energy use

Saving energy is a common-sense solution, and it enjoys broad support. Americans can embrace energy efficiency and conservation in our own homes and businesses — meaning we can make tangible progress in energy savings without waiting for the government to act.

From small changes, such as switching light bulbs to LEDs, to big changes, like installing solar panels on the roof, there are many ways we can begin to address energy waste and energy efficiency in our own homes.

Environment America and our national network recently created a Citizen’s Guide for Reducing Energy Waste, to help people identify the areas of their homes and businesses where energy use can be reduced.

Roschetsky Photography via Shutterstock.com

2. Building smarter and more efficiently

While we each work to improve residential energy efficiency, we must also make sure that institutions, cities and states are maintaining high efficiency standards for their infrastructure. 

Environment America is working to improve building codes so that all new buildings are constructed to meet zero net energy by 2030. That would mean that every new building constructed just a decade from now will be able to produce all the energy it needs onsite from solar panels or wind turbines.

To achieve this goal, we must set an ambitious agenda. Our team of researchers, advocates and organizers is working to promote investment in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings by 30 percent by 2030. In addition to increased efficiency, we will provide resources and reduce energy consumption in existing buildings by 50 percent by 2050.

Thomas Kelsey, U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathalon

3. Improving appliance efficiency standards

Another important way to reduce energy use is to make sure that all appliances and products on the market are using energy as efficiently as possible.

Alongside our state affiliates, Environment America is calling on local and state governments to promote energy conservation and efficiency through policymaking. By winning appliance efficiency standards at the local and state levels, we can generate energy savings, reduce environmental damage and create momentum that helps other communities follow suit.