Residents and businesses across the country are saving energy and money thanks to smart state policies. Their stories help explain why some states climbed in our 2017 State Scorecard or maintained strong standings. This year for the first time, we included stories of individuals and communities in our state-specific score sheets. We found schools that improved lighting and taught students about sustainability, state facilities that secured more reliable electricity, and senior citizens who improved the comfort of their homes. These stories demonstrate the impact of energy efficiency policies and programs on our wallets, local economies, productivity, and quality of life.
Idaho was one of the most-improved states in the 2017 Scorecard, partly because utilities have increased spending on energy efficiency. In late 2016 the University of Idaho leveraged a utility rebate to convert more than 66,000 fluorescent lights to more-efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes). The program employed 22 students and installed higher-quality lights that minimize ultraviolet radiation and reduce the university’s carbon footprint. The project is expected to save the university more than $355,000 annually and reduce energy use by 5.6 million kilowatt hours. It had a side benefit as well. It showed Peter Handel, a student employed by the project, the value of energy efficiency and sparked his longer-term interest in the field.
Similarly, in southwest Oregon, the Medford School District used Energy Trust of Oregon incentives and services to upgrade lights, renovate and construct energy-efficient school buildings, and improve occupant energy consumption practices. The school district used this program as a tool for teaching students about saving energy.
Read More (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)