Efficiency helps cut costs, reduce emissions, and do more with less. Using energy efficient technologies and smart design results in more comfortable homes and business, reduced time and energy needed for manufacturing processes, and more.
History of Efficiency
Serious energy efficiency efforts weren’t undertaken in the United States until the OPEC (Organization of Oil Exporting Countries) oil embargo of 1973, which sparked the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. Under that law, new appliances were required to feature energy consumption information; assistance was provided for energy conservation planning, and more. One year later, the Energy Conservation and Production Act set the stage for development of national Building Energy Performance Standards, and the creation of the Weatherization Assistance Program, which finances energy-saving improvements for low-income households.
In addition, the EPA created the Energy Star program in 1992 — the now-widespread labeling of energy consumption on appliances began with computers and expanded to include office equipment, heating and cooling systems, appliances, and more.
Efficiency in Vermont
In Vermont, the state set up an independent efficiency utility in 1999, which became Efficiency Vermont, operating under the umbrella non-profit organization Vermont Energy Investment Corp. Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas also serve as state regulated efficiency utilities in their customer territories. The success of this unique program has now been replicated by other states.
Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for the state and local jurisdictions to implement net zero building codes.
Efficiency technology is designed to reduce energy consumption for heating, cooling, and lighting of buildings. For example, higher-grade insulation has been developed to prevent the escape of heat from buildings, and to plug the “holes” that allow heat energy to escape. Buildings are also now being designed to be more efficient in their layout and construction, incorporate intelligent heating, cooling and lighting control systems that reduce use when buildings are empty, and take advantage of more efficient furnaces and double-glazed windows.
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