Missoula, MT – A new national report finds that Montanan households would save an average of $476 per year and 2,100 sustainable jobs would be created in the state over the next ten years if Congress acts now to include strong energy efficiency improvements in energy and climate legislation. The report, entitled Energy Efficiency in the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009: Impacts of Current Provisions and Opportunities to Enhance the Legislation, was released by Environment Montana and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The efficiency provisions would prevent 3 million tons of carbon emissions; this is the equivalent of removing the pollution 545,454 cars from the road for a year.
“Currently, buildings account for the majority of the primary energy use and carbon emissions in the United States. Reducing the amount of energy the country’s building infrastructure uses is essential to achieving a self reliant, sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Lucas Dupuis, president of Sustainable Building Design. “Aggressively implementing higher energy efficiency standards for new and renovated buildings will significantly cut demand for energy, and its associated carbon emissions. This strategy has the added benefits of creating lasting jobs in construction and ultimately saving the building owners money on their utility bills.”
“Americans know that energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest, cheapest way of reducing our energy use and pollution,” concluded Zoee Turrill, from Environment Montana. “These common sense solutions will put cash back in our pockets and help protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the future of the planet.” The report also found that energy efficiency policies from the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), which passed the House of Representatives in June, would create 1,400 new jobs, save the average household $317 a year, and reduce annual carbon emissions by 1.5 million tons in Montana by 2020.
“While the House bill is a critical first step in harnessing the power of energy efficiency, this report shows we can save even more money, create even more jobs and reduce more pollution,” said Zoee Turrill. “We are excited the senate has an opportunity to create common sense energy efficiency policies and to jumpstart the transition to a clean energy economy.”
The group showed that policy improvements could generate more than 569,000 clean energy jobs and save the average household $283 per year nationwide by 2020. These policy improvements would result in 48 percent more jobs and 32 percent more consumer savings than the efficiency measures in the House passed bill. In addition these improvements would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 480 million metric tons in 2020, equivalent to taking over 87 million cars off the road for a year.
Russ Hellem, the owner of Energetechs, explained that the duplex he built at 1936 S. 7th street is a simple, affordable, highly efficient structure that created jobs, saves a lot of energy, and is extremely comfortable.
“The enormous job of improving the performance of all of our existing and new buildings will provide jobs for millions of Americans for decades to come,” Hellem said. “New technologies are being developed every day to improve energy efficiency but it’s the simple things that will make the most difference. We have the knowledge and the ability to make it happen, we just need our leadership to commit to strong and lasting energy efficiency improvement goals. Now is the time to admit that our past wastefulness has created serious problems and now is the time to take action to fix them.”
Senators can maximize economic benefits to consumers by:
- Supporting a strengthened Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) requiring utility companies to reduce their energy usage by at least 10 percent by providing incentives and assistance to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy-efficient (ACESA included a 5% EERS with an optional 3% increase).
- Modeling electric utility allocation on that of the natural gas utility allocation in ACES, by requiring that one-third be used for energy efficiency improvements.
- Extending the allocation of carbon allowance revenue to the State Energy and Environmental Development (SEED) provision.