How To Increase Energy Efficiency in the U.S.
Reading between the lines of a recent National Governors Association paper, if you want citizens and industries to reduce their carbon footprints, give them financial incentives. Although there are multiple advantages to a greener outlook, including less pollution, many of the points made in this paper suggest that money is what drives some people towards necessary change above all other considerations.
To promote and advance energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings, governors are going right to utilities companies. They offer incentives to these companies to find ways to reduce the cost of providing energy to customers within the states they serve. Along with any incentives specific governments provide for their citizens, this is an additional way to help consumers lower their energy costs. If they can save a bit of money every month, this could help prevent financial trouble but also free up money for energy efficiency structural changes.
Regulations for Users
At the same time, there can and should be pitfalls for business owners who defy expectations to increase energy efficiency wherever possible in their fields of industry. Regulations are drawn up by governors to limit the actions of business owners who would overstep these expectations and produce more carbon emissions than are necessary or permitted.
There can be no doubt of the rights and wrongs of energy use when it is all written down. Governors are “improving energy efficiency rules and standards for buildings and appliances” (http://nga.org/). They have also created an Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors which lays out all of these points and more.
Thinking of the Future
Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, stresses that “the opportunity exists for even greater energy savings” (http://nga.org/). Governors are concerned about what can be done today to reduce the environmental impact of using gas, electricity, and water, but they also have their eye on the next group of innovators. To promote their work, governments are working with academic institutions to run or create programs where technology is used to prevent over-consumption in the United States, but to go even further.
Private individuals with innovative ideas can also look to state programs for help with their financial situations. Some monetary support could come from changes to financing arrangements if projects and inventions appear to have the potential to make positive change. Essentially, loans would be cheaper to pay off. Governors regularly revisit green ideas put forward, exploring which are likely to work, what works now, and to plan for the future.