In urban and suburban areas, utility customers have multiple ways they can conserve power and save on their energy bills. They have a median energy burden of 3.3%. But this is not the case in rural areas. Americans in rural, low-income areas spend a higher percentage of their incomes on their energy bills, with a median energy burden of 4.4%, a number nearly three times higher than their urban counterparts.
A new study has found that homes that meet the state of Washington’s green building standard use up to 40 percent less electricity than conventional homes, saving residents more than $500 a year on utility bills and slashing each home’s annual carbon emissions by nearly half a ton.
That’s the energy-savings equivalent of installing more than 13 solar panels, operating a 12 watt LED light continuously for 44 years, driving an electric vehicle over 15,000 miles or charging an iPhone 6 more than half a million times.
Not only has California been stricken by a prolonged drought, but it’s also embroiled in legal battles over the state’s access to water from the Colorado River and other sources. In an effort to lower the state’s overall water use, California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order in 2015 to improve the efficiency of water appliances in new and existing buildings throughout the state.
Devastating hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina have resulted in new disaster-mitigation efforts as communities rebuild buildings and infrastructure. The recent deluge of hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also offer an opportunity to use state-of-the art strategies to improve rebuilt communities’ ability to withstand future natural disasters.
These resilience strategies include energy efficiency measures. According to a recent newsletter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development & Research, materials and technologies that enhance buildings’ energy efficiency can also make them more durable and resilient to hurricanes and other natural disaster.
Almost two-thirds of the 51 largest cities in the United States boosted their energy efficiency last year. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, according to ACEEE’s 2017 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The City Scorecard, which has been published each of the last three years, rates cities across five energy-efficiency policy areas: local government operations, including public financing and land use and zoning laws; community-wide initiatives such as economic and workforce development; buildings codes and policies; energy and water utility operations; and transportation policies and investment.
Water efficiency is essential for every type of business—whether they’re water-intensive industries like healthcare facilities, hotels, carwashes or laundry services or just your standard office or retail store. But how do you formulate a comprehensive water-reduction plan that allows you to conserve water without negative business impacts?
A good place to start is with advice from the experts. Members of the Federal Energy Management Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did some brainstorming and came up with 14 best-management practices (BMPs) to improve water efficiency in a variety of settings.
Forty out of 50 U.S. states are likely to experience some type of water shortage in the next decade, and 10 percent of people worldwide don’t have access to clean water. But a new report shows that many U.S. and Canadian residents not only don’t think water scarcity is an issue, they also don’t have much incentive to use less water.
While getting consumers to change their water consumption is a struggle, the report notes it can be done with smart messaging. “You must make water conservation feel real, personal, self- and community-affirming and, above all, necessary,” notes the Eco Pulse 2016 Special Report, “All Wet.”
California is now in its fourth year of continuous, record-breaking drought and its sixth month of strict statewide water conservation measures implemented by Governor Jerry Brown.
Conversations about energy efficiency tend to focus on use — how energy is used, the efficiency of that use, and how to decrease that use. Consistently overlooked in the course of these conversations is the amount of energy that is wasted.