Investing in the efficiency of residential, commercial and institutional buildings and operations is cheaper than producing energy. The data to support this comes from the American Council For An Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

These measures include assistance in purchasing energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling equipment, maximizing insulation factors, leak-free ductwork and setting up strict maintenance and monitoring schedules. This applies to both new construction and renovations, with the help of professionals to test installations and verify results.

Utility companies have many spending choices for meeting ratepayer demand for electricity. Lowering demand is a real resource; competing capably with all other methods of dealing with energy. Put into ranking by spending, energy efficiency costs approximately 5 cents per kilowatt hour of energy production avoidance. For perspective on the production side; large scale utility grade solar costs around 7 cents, wind power approximately 7.5 cents, combined heat and power natural gas plants about 8 cents/kwh, biomass at 11 cents, nuclear at 13 and the various treatments of coal somewhere between 15 and 18 cents. As you see, combining energy efficiency spending with renewable energy production still presents a formidable combination on the rise.

Efficiency spending speaks for itself, but there is further benefit. That is the avoidance of greenhouse gas production and the accompanying carbon loading in the atmosphere; as well as the reduction of airborne particulate pollution and the continued environmental degradation by extraction of fossil fuels. The economics of trending away from coal, oil and fracked methane is put into sharp focus when there is, at the least, cost parity and sometimes a cost savings factor of 3-4 times. All of this while helping the environment and employing more people in sustainable jobs.

Energy efficiency is as much a growth industry as renewable energy. In both cases, there continue to be breakthroughs, often commensurate with moving money toward research and development. Advances in super-insulated walls, windows, doors, roof assemblies, air quality and moisture control, keep on coming. The passive house example continues to guide architects and engineers toward greater advances for mass adaptation. On the HVAC side, heat pump technology also keeps getting better and cheaper by economy of scale.

The same kind of dynamic holds true in the transportation sector, when investment is made to avoid fossil fuel consumption by hybridizing and electrifying cars, trucks and public transportation. Again, investing in ways to avoid consumption saves money, resources and minimizes pollution.

There are substantial savings available through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. In Galloway, contact the Office of Sustainability for guidance through this and other available avenues. For sure, explore the ACEEE website at aceee.org for a broad overview of all the ways that efficiency is a resource to be reckoned with.

Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.

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