John Hargrove is President and CEO of the Association of Energy Services Professionals.
We can make the standard arguments about why energy efficiency makes sense. It reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, leads to energy independence and protects the existing energy supply grid. It reduces the need to build more capacity and it saves money.
But there is also another benefit that springs from energy efficiency. It’s as powerful an argument for why utilities should be doing more to drive energy efficiency efforts. But it’s not as frequently cited. It’s the benefit to the public health.
People may not think that replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED, or enrolling in a utility’s energy savings incentive program will make them physically healthier. But that is in fact the case. It’s the best case for the profession to make, in order to tackle one of the most persistent impediments to widespread acceptance: behavior change.
Many energy efficiency interventions in homes, businesses and the workplace are directly tied to physical health.
These include water and air filtration, and reducing air infiltration and drafts. These also include improved air quality and high-efficiency cook stoves. Lastly, these include the reduction of pollutants from fossil fuels and insulation from extreme temperatures.