The best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to just use less energy.
For years, Green Energy Consumers Alliance has advocated to strengthen energy efficiency and conservation programs in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Our efforts have contributed to utility-administered programs that provide consumers with appliance rebates, free home energy audits, weatherization, and other reduced cost or no cost ways to make saving energy easier.
In 2018, Rhode Island developed its Energy Efficiency Program Plan for 2019, and Massachusetts finalized its Three Year Efficiency Plan for 2019 – 2021. But these plans look a little different from the tried-and-true formula of cutting down on our energy usage — and that’s a good thing.
Both states have begun to acknowledge pollution reductions as a goal of the efficiency programs, rather than just cost savings. This allows the programs to invest in more diverse technology that reduces emissions, like efficient electric heating systems and battery storage. The efficiency plans will also better engage renters, non-English speakers, and other consumers who have struggled to access the programs in the past.
Although these plans are a step in the right direction, we have a long way to go before the efficiency programs are doing everything they can to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. In 2019, Green Energy Consumers will track the implementation of energy efficiency programs and to advocate for innovation, equity, and ambitious goals.