Today we are celebrating national energy efficiency day . Businesses, utilities, organizations, and individuals are celebrating the incredible impact energy efficiency has made on our planet, and our wallet. Energy efficiency saves money, creates jobs, and reduces pollution and our carbon footprint.
Energy efficiency is especially beneficial to low-income households. While middle to high-income families spend less than 9% of their income on their energy bills, low-income families can spend more than 35% of their income on their energy bills alone! Those low-income families oftentimes live in older homes, or apartments, with doors and windows that are not properly sealed, or insulated. By sealing leaks, adding insulation, and repairing damage to exterior walls/roofs, families can stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Not only will this save energy and money, but during extreme temperatures, it can also save lives.
While North Carolina has made investments in energy efficiency measures, we’re leaving a lot on the table! We need to update our NC building and appliance codes to require stronger energy efficiency standards. We need to encourage Duke Energy to invest in stronger energy efficiency measures before investing more in expensive and dirty fossil fuel. We need to demand that our elected officials lead by example, and retrofit our large government buildings- reducing pollution and saving taxpayer’s money!
We, as individuals, must also lead by example. Switch to LED light bulbs, shut down your computer when not in use, unplug appliances that you infrequently use, use a power strip, turn off lights when you leave a room, invest in a nest thermostat, use solar powered landscaping lights, purchase energy star rated appliances, get an energy audit, and click here  to checkout more ways to save money, energy, and the planet! Happy National Energy Efficiency Day!
Rachel Estes is a Policy Analyst at the N.C. Conservation Network .