This blog was written by David Farnsworth and Dr. Jan Rosenow of Regulatory Assistance Project, and represents the organization's work and approach. Building Decarb Central is meant to share different perspectives on the topic of building decarbonization. This blog is part of that dialogue.
Communities – whether at the state or jurisdictional level – are stepping up and taking their energy future into their own hands. And, in discussions about the energy future of communities, there’s also talk around reaching carbon reduction and resiliency goals. Communities are exercising their power and autonomy in making their goals a reality.
For over a decade, utilities have rigorously explored a variety of approaches in their quest to achieve predictable and reliable energy savings data. One approach that combines energy efficiency, behavioral changes, and integrated demand-side management is strategic energy management (SEM). SEM is a holistic approach that continuously examines and manages a customer’s energy usage in pursuit of deeper, long-term savings.
Aside from energy efficiency being the least-cost energy resource, a common argument used to support programs is that they create jobs and keep ratepayer dollars in-state. This argument seems at least intuitively correct, since it takes bodies in the field — or perhaps more appropriately, in attics and basements — to install energy savings measures.
But if energy efficiency creates so many jobs, where is the evidence?