Why Energy Efficiency is Important
The average household spends more than $2,200 each year on energy bills – that’s a big portion of each paycheck. We rely on electricity to power lights, appliances and other electronics every day. As we use more electricity, naturally, our electric bills rise. In turn, fossil-fueled power plants not only generate more electricity, but also create more pollution. The continued reliance on and depletion of fossil-fuel resources threatens the earth’s sustainability, not to mention our wallets’ in these tough economic times. Products such as green lighting, energy saving power strips, energy monitoring devices and programmable thermostats (just to name a few) protect the Earth’s precious resources while saving you money.
Legislation in the US
Legislation that leads to energy efficiency is tricky business. It needs to save energy and preserve or create jobs, all while making economic sense. Since some of these things can often be mutually exclusive, it’s no surprise that the most recent legislation (2009) is the first to hit the Senate in over sixteen years.
- The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 established programs to promote energy conservation in federal buildings and major U.S. industries.
- The Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976 went one step further by including incentives for conservation and renewable energy, providing loan guarantees for energy conservation in public and commercial buildings and authorizing a weatherization program for low-income housing.
- The Warner Amendment of 1983 allocated oil overcharge funds (also known as Petroleum Violation Escrow or PVE funds) to state energy programs, becoming quite substantial in 1986 when Exxon and Stripper Well settlements added more than $4 billion.
- The State Energy Efficiency Programs Improvement Act of 1990 encouraged states to undertake activities designed to improve efficiency and stimulate investment in and use of alternative energy technologies.
- The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 allowed Department of Energy funding to be used to finance revolving funds for energy efficiency improvements in state and local government buildings because of the crucial role they play in regulating energy industries and promoting new energy technologies. The EPAct also expanded the policy development and technology deployment role for the states.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $3.1 billion for State Energy Program formula grants with no matching fund requirements.
Electric utility energy efficiency programs have grown continuously and rapidly, totaling $4.6 billion in 2010.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act is meant to spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors by bringing together many energy efficiency measures, like improving building codes, efficient products incentives and research and development funding for energy efficient technologies.
Where Do I Find Information About Tax Incentives and Rebates?
Here are a few of our favorite databases for finding tax rebates and incentives:
- The ENERGY STAR Rebate Locator
- The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
- The Tax Incentives Assistance Project
Or, look for rebates and incentives by state (we’re still compiling this list, so if you don’t see your state or power provider, check the above links):
Do you know of any we missed? Include a link in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!
—The EnergyEarth Team
© 2013 Energy Earth LLC. All Rights Reserved.