Let’s celebrate anything that uses less to do more
We’re normally focused on efficient windows here, but today’s a day to reach out to the whole extended family: not just our brothers and sisters in the world of windows, but our cousins in insulation rolls, electric vehicles, tankless water heaters, heat pumps, ENERGY STAR® appliances, and many more. It’s a big family here, and we’re celebrating the seventh annual National Energy Efficiency Day together. Because any one of us will make your home a better, cheaper, and more comfortable living environment, we’re even better together.
Why do we love energy efficiency so much? Because it helps us do more stuff without paying more. Because energy efficiency creates good jobs. And because it’s something everyone needs. No matter if you live in a Manhattan shoebox with a view or if it would take a New York City cabbie a whole day to find your backcountry cabin, your home would be more comfortable and cheaper to maintain after some efficiency upgrades. But don’t just trust me. Check out the facts:
- Energy efficiency standards baked into regulations already save you money, even if you haven’t tried it yourself. One example is the savings you get because your utility company doesn’t need to add new fees to your bill to cover their investment expenses. Since 1990, energy-efficiency measures have saved the country $790 billion in power plants we no longer need to build because the efficient use of existing supply proved sufficient, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
- Since 1992, the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program has helped families and businesses cut energy costs by $450 billion. They’ve saved 3.5 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 3.1 billion metric tons, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- The drive for energy efficiency puts people to work – some 2.25 million Americans as of today. That’s more workers than those in the coal, oil, gas, electricity, and renewable-energy industries combined, according to ACEEE. Employment in recent years has grown at a rate of 9 percent a year in efficiency, compared to 5 percent for the energy sector as a whole, according to the EPA.
- Efficiency unites us because we all need it. Rural households typically spend about 40 percent more of their incomes on energy compared with their urban counterparts. Upgrades like efficient windows could save them at least $400 a year, according to ACEEE.
- Meanwhile, in the five boroughs of New York City, efficiency upgrades to multifamily homes could create a savings of $22.8 million through 2035, according to Energy Efficiency For All.
At this point, you probably have just one question: “Can I join the party?” It’s easy. To get the comfort upgrades and utility savings of efficient windows, use our Window Selection Tool to find a list of options with features that fit perfectly with your home. If you want to tackle efficiency upgrades of all sorts, try this checklist of household projects, sorted by things you can do in a day, in a week, a month, or a year.
But what if you don’t know whether your home already is energy efficient? Or isn’t it? Ask your utility company or your city’s building code office to conduct a home energy audit. They usually cost less than a few hundred dollars, and the Inflation Reduction Act, recently passed by Congress, offers a $150 rebate – check back here soon for our upcoming guide to new incentives and rebates, as well as the financing and incentives section of this site. You can also use this guide from the Department of Energy to do the inspection yourself.
Matt is a communications consultant based in Baltimore, Maryland, who works with the efficiency experts who run the Efficient Windows Collaborative to help spread an important message about efficient windows.