I am pretty certain that one of the more dreaded things that many of us do each month is paying bills related to transportation, energy usage and water consumption. Initiatives by the local government from minimal water use to affordable and energy efficient buildings and appliances and cost-effective transportation can and does influence knowledge, costs and conveniences to consumers. For new construction, it is simple to incorporate energy saving design and systems into structures. Existing properties may require modification, updates and new systems to yield cost-effective gains. As energy demand grows just from sheer population numbers, the country has to add expensive energy generation and transmission and water delivery and treatment capacity.
My current home of the past five years, was built in 1994. Since buying, we have upgraded air conditioners, windows, increased insulation in attic and when reroofing, we had the roofer replace the entire roof deck with a radiant barrier plywood. My electricity bill last month (August) was less than one-quarter of that paid for the same month five years ago. Just by changing a few items in my home, peak energy demand was made available for three other similar properties.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) examines a diverse range of products, programs and initiatives that impact costs to users and infrastructure investment. Air conditioning, for example, consumes approximately 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S. Efficient air conditioners and programs that both educate and stimulate consumers to use best practices benefit the entire community. Not only do lower peak consumption points require less investment in generation and transmission of electricity, they also create fewer emissions.
ACEEE ranked the most energy efficient cities in the country, looking at the largest 34 cities, with scoring accumulated from five sections:
- Local Government Operations
- Community-Wide Initiatives
- Buildings Policies
- Energy and Water Utility Polices and Public Benefits Programs
- Transportation Policies
So who were the most energy-efficient, ten top-ranked U.S. cities?
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Portland, Oregon
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Austin, Texas
- Washington, DC
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Chicago, Illinois
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas, where I live, ranked 13th best in the country — not surprising given our wide transportation requirements, explosive growth the high costs of air conditioning.
Want to see the entire list of the 34 cities? Click http://aceee.org/files/pdf/summary/e13g-summary.pdf to read the Executive Summary from ACEEE.
Want to read the entire report? Click http://aceee.org/node/3078?id=5163 to log in (you will have to provide some detailed contact information).
To learn more about the very interesting ACEEE, click http://aceee.org/
Efficient energy usage is a win-win for all, consumers and industry alike.