Energy demand is increasing, and if the last few years have taught us anything it’s that the energy supply is struggling to keep up. Any sort of disruption can create issues that impact both the cost of energy and availability. The ripple effect creates a large-scale impact on the overall economy.
The worst part is a lot of the energy that’s used in the U.S. is wasted. Energy waste is when energy is used without a purpose. A good example of this kind of energy waste is when devices and appliances are in standby mode drawing power without being turned on.
But there’s also another type of energy waste that happens when we don’t optimize energy use. When we could make changes to use less energy but don’t that leads to wasted energy. Light bulbs are the perfect example. You can light up a room with an incandescent bulb. Or you could use an LED bulb that produces as much or more illumination, lasts 15 times longer and uses up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb.
Roughly 35% of residential energy use is complete waste. The commercial sectors have even worse efficiency ratings. Energy is something that we all need on a daily basis to live in the modern world, which is why eliminating energy waste should be a resolution for everyone at all levels.
What the Federal Government Can Resolve to Do to Reduce Energy Waste
The federal government has taken a lot of heat over the years for not addressing energy supply and infrastructure issues. Much more needs to be done to update the electrical grid system so that it can efficiently meet the energy needs of today.
One way that the federal government is correcting matters is diversifying energy sources. In 2021 just 20% of the U.S. electric grid’s energy was produced by renewable resources, but that number is expected to double by 2050. However, to make that happen the federal government will need to subsidize R&D and help grid operators come up with ways to better gauge supply and meet demand since renewable energy production isn’t consistent.
One thing that the federal government got right recently was extending the energy efficiency home improvement tax credit to 2032. On top of extending the timeline, the federal government also expanded what qualifies for the credit and increased the credit amount. These kinds of incentives really encourage businesses and individuals to make investments that reduce energy demand and energy waste.
Another thing that the federal government has largely gotten right but could do better is educating the public about energy waste and how it can be eliminated. The US Department of Energy has hundreds of articles on how energy can be used efficiently, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides an invaluable service by collecting and reporting energy use data. If energy waste is going to be eliminated the federal government needs to ramp up the investment in educating the public.
What the State and Local Governments Can Resolve to Do to Reduce Energy Waste
State and local governments can offer their own tax credits and other incentives to homeowners that make energy efficiency improvements. State assistance programs for low income households are especially important. Providing financial assistance for energy efficiency improvements is a one-time cost that leads to reduced consumption and lower energy costs month after month. Without the assistance low income households may be unable to make improvements and continue using more energy than necessary.
The state public utilities commission can also approve the use of more smart meters. A smart meter provides real-time information that leads to better allocation of energy and reduced consumption. One of the major benefits is getting an accurate record of how much energy is used throughout the day. Knowing when the most energy is consumed can help consumers zero in on where electricity is being wasted.
What Businesses Can Resolve to Do to Reduce Energy Waste
For businesses, it’s all about really analyzing processes and auditing operations to determine how well energy is being managed. There are a lot of energy inefficiencies in some business sectors. The transportation sector is notorious for gluttonous energy use.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory estimates that in 2021:
- 79% of the energy consumed within transportation was wasted.
- The industrial sector wastes about 50% of the energy it uses.
- The overall commercial sector used just 35% of the energy it consumed.
Many businesses know that energy efficiencies exist, but it’s business as usual much of the time. Making systematic changes within a business is no easy task, and it can come with substantial direct and indirect upfront costs. However, much of the time an energy audit reveals that reduced energy use over the long-term reduced energy use offsets the cost and can save the company money over time.
What Individuals Can Resolve to Do to Reduce Energy Waste
Every kilowatt-hour that’s saved counts. They add up little by little to make a huge difference when we all make an effort. Find just one thing you can do differently to waste less energy and you’re doing your part.
You can take a step toward optimizing your energy use by first figuring out what type of energy user you are. This will help you focus on changes and improvements that will make the biggest difference. It also helps to know your load factor, which is an indicator of how efficiently you use energy.
Homeowners have to look into federal, state and local programs that help with energy improvements because no one is going to send you the applications or contact you if you’re eligible. You have to do the legwork to research energy efficiency improvement programs and determine if you qualify before submitting an application. It’s a bit of administrative work up front, but it pays off in the end.
As consumers, individuals can use their purchasing power to encourage businesses to reduce energy waste. More and more people are making it known that they prefer to give their business to companies that make eco-friendly choices and put effort into minimizing energy use. The more it impacts the bottom line, the more resolved businesses will be in doing their part to limit wasted energy.
Do you understand how you use energy? Major Energy has resources to help you figure it out, plus informative utility bills that give you a better idea of how energy is used in your household. Paired with our fixed rate plans, customers will be in a great position to eliminate energy waste in the coming year!
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