A study from utility-supported Electric Power Research Institute says improvements in energy efficiency could slow the growth of electricity demand over the next two decades by up to 22 per cent.Î¾ John Berger with Standard Renewable Energy suggests that number could be much higher.
"It actually sounds rather conservative.Î¾ Savings here could be tremendous.Î¾ I mean, we have customers — myself included — that have power bills that are 70, 80 per cent less than when we started.Î¾ So 22 per cent to me, especially when you can do things in insulation and air conditioning very quickly: slight behavior change — turning out lights and so forth that our power cost monitor does for you — those things can easily get to 20, 30 per cent, just right off the bat."Î¾
The Electric Power Research Institute study says investments in efficiency to get the power savings are expected to cost utilities between $19 and $47 billion between now and 2030.Î¾ Most of the savings would be achieved by new building codes, tougher appliance and lighting standards and a phase-out of less efficient equipment to heat and cool buildings.Î¾ Houston-based SRE helps homeowners and companies achieve energy efficiency.
"We do an energy audit on your home.Î¾ And that gives us an idea, a complete roadmap of exactly what is going on in your home — what's going wrong, what's going right.Î¾ and then we make a list of suggestions about what you can do to get your utility bill down.Î¾ For instance, insulation, you know, high-efficiency air conditioning, power cost monitors — we have some really neat new technology there.Î¾ We've got solar, of course, and then we can also get you a list of all the rebates and tax incentives and tax credits that are out there.Î¾ And then we do all the installation ourselves."Î¾
Berger says our national energy policy has been "use up everybody else's first," but the former FERC member is optimistic that President-elect Barack Obama understands the scope of the nation's energy problems.Î¾
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.