NC SAVE$ ENERGY is an initiative by a growing number of organizations to create a statewide, independent (non-utility) energy efficiency program. It will keep savings on energy bills in the hands of residential customers, while serving those who can least afford rising energy costs.                                                         NC SAVE$ ENERGY would create a publicly-managed, independent fund to pay for energy efficiency projects for homes, local government buildings, hospitals, and schools. This program will create good North Carolina jobs, save people money, protect the environment, and ensure healthy, safe homes and buildings across the state.                                                                                        NC SAVE$ ENERGY is based on the experiences of six other states’ cost-effective independent energy efficiency programs.

Summary of an ACEEE Report “Unlocking Ultra-Low Energy Performance in Existing Buildings”

Existing buildings consume about 40% of the energy used today, which is why ensuring these buildings have the appropriate energy efficiency upgrades is important for curbing energy use and reducing emissions. Energy performance is dependent on how the building was constructed and climate, so it varies. Retrofitting existing buildings and homes is also an excellent way to create living wage jobs in rural and isolated communities. Low income families who live in dilapidated homes or mobile homes too often pay an electric bill that is close to the cost of their rent. It is not uncommon for a family living in a home without proper installation to pay upwards of $300-$500 in electricity costs per month.  Providing these families with energy efficiency upgrades not only curbs their electric use, but also saves them money on their bill.

The ACEEE report “Unlocking Ultra-Low Energy Performance in Existing Buildings,” points out that “existing buildings can benefit from the same advances in appliance, equipment, and lighting efficiency,” as new homes do. Retrofitting existing homes can be more costly than incorporating energy efficiency features in new homes, and that is because it requires additional labor to remove existing appliances, and also possible additional repairs, but the long term savings will make up for the additional cost.

Retrofitting is not reaching its true potential in the market, and that is because many residents are not aware of the savings associated with it. Energy efficiency projects on average bring in a 9% rate of return, or about $2,406 in savings each year when you spend $16,657 up front in upgrades on a home. In Vermont, homes with energy efficiency upgrades have the potential to save up to 55% yearly on their electric bills.  Commercial buildings have even more of an energy savings potential. Energy efficiency upgrades can also make a structure more resilient to storms or climate change. Whatever the reason one chooses to retrofit a home or business, the owner will be guaranteed an outcome that will benefit them.

Ericka Faircloth, Water and Energy Justice Organizer for Clean Water for NC, says, “What makes a huge and damaging energy infrastructure project like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline an great injustice is that the same low income communities and communities of color who will get serious impacts from the pipeline and will not be able to move away, will get no benefits from the natural gas, as connections would cost millions of dollars.  In addition, all NC ratepayers would pay for the pipeline through big rate hikes in the coming years, an economic injustice for low income consumers, generally living in older, less efficient housing. In fact, efficiency upgrades for older homes and businesses would create hundreds of permanent jobs and create large energy savings for those who need it most.”

ACEEE report entitled “Unlocking Ultra-Low Energy Performance in Existing Buildings,” accessible here: http://aceee.org/white-paper/unlocking-ule-0717

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