We see energy efficiency as a crucial piece of the effort to create both healthy homes and thriving communities. Investments in energy efficiency, when done right, can lower energy costs for families, make homes healthier, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, grow the clean energy economy and create jobs.
Energy efficiency can make our homes more comfortable inside and cheaper to light, heat, and cool, while making our indoor air cleaner. The cost savings are particularly important for low-income households, who pay nearly three times as much of their income for energy as do high-income households. But policies and programs to promote energy efficiency must consider the needs of low-income and environmental justice communities and be designed with their input and involvement.
Building electrification—converting from gas to electricity for things like heating, water heating, and cooking – is one area where energy efficiency, health, saving money for consumers, and fighting climate change all come together. Modern electric appliances are cleaner, more efficient and cheaper to operate than gas, and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- one quarter of which currently come from the buildings where we live and work.
But to make this transition away from gas work, communities must be involved from the very beginning. In partnership with California’s Energy Efficiency for All Coalition, we’ve put together a five-part framework to do just that, showing policymakers how to align electrification efforts with community needs and the goals of health, job creation, and forging stronger connections between Californians and our climate change policies and goals.
In addition, energy efficiency programs can be a huge source of opportunities for entrepreneurship and for creating good jobs that can’t be outsourced. We work to ensure that energy efficiency programs create meaningful workforce pathways from our communities into rewarding careers in the energy services sector -- with jobs that pay family-supporting wages, provide benefits, and lead to opportunities for career advancement. To promote entrepreneurship in our communities, we work to make sure these efforts create more contracting opportunities for businesses owned by people of color, women and veterans and monitor the supplier diversity efforts of energy companies.