A world powered by clean energy is a distant and optimistic dream but one worth imagining anyway. Reality tells us that clean power will have to gain mass acceptance and implementation in order to even makeup a fraction of the world’s energy demand. While these new clean technologies are being invented, improved, and scaled up, there is one measure that we can all take that produces immediate results: Energy Efficiency.
Whether you know it or not, many states are offering incentives to homeowners and businesses to improve their energy efficiency in areas such as HVAC, lighting, solar panel installation, and appliance upgrades. Yes, let me repeat this, the state is offering you money to upgrade to a more efficient furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner, new windows or insulation for your house. In many cases, the incentive is worth almost half of the cost of the project and will lead to lower energy costs in the future. Other incentives include a 10 year, 0% interest loan. That breaks down to about $83 per month, often less than the savings realized through the decreased energy use. Please see the DSIRE website because many of these offers end December 31st, 2011.
The wait for clean energy does not have to be a passive time. In fact, one study by McKinsey estimates that if enough people took advantage of these efficiency measures, America could reduce its non-transport energy consumption by 23% by 2020. These savings would be achieved at minor cost compared to the cost of building new power plants, whether conventional or renewable. Energy efficiency is not as sexy as green power, but in a time when businesses and citizens are feeling a money crunch, it is simply a smart play.