Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently revealed the findings of a major study analyzing the impact of information-based energy-efficiency programs at 11 utilities across the country. The report identifies energy reductions that could generate billions in savings for Americans and reduce carbon (CO2) emissions by more than 8.9 million metric tons per year if extended nationwide.

The findings were announced by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as part of a bill signing ceremony on May 23 at Colorado State University's Engines and Energy Conservation Lab. Fort Collins Utilities participated in the EDF study and implemented an information-based energy efficiency program in November of 2009.

The EDF analysis relies on data gathered from 11 different gas and electric utilities in six states (including Fort Collins utilities), encompassing more than 750,000 households across the country. The utilities partnered with Opower, an energy-management software company, to roll out its Home Energy Reporting program. The data analyzed includes more than 22 million meter reads gathered over periods of a minimum of 12 months from each of the deployments. The report analyzes the effectiveness of these programs and estimates the impact of taking these savings to the national scale. Findings include:

  • On a national basis, informational-based energy-efficiency programs have driven individual household savings ranging from an average of 1% to 3% per year. This amounts to millions of dollars in aggregate savings for home electricity customers — simply through small behavior changes;
  • EDF concludes that if every home in America reduces its energy use by the average in this program, projected energy usage would drop by more than 26,000 GWh per year;
    • Energy Savings: These savings could power every home in Colorado and still have enough left over to cover everyone in Utah as well
    • Economic Savings: A reduction of energy use this size would reduce electricity bills by $3 billion each year across the United States
    • Environmental Savings: Eliminating electricity waste on this scale would reduce CO2 emissions by more than 8.9 million metric tons per year — equal to the emissions from three 500MW coal-fired power plants.
  • Fort Collins Utilities: Fort Collins rolled out its information-based energy efficiency program to 25,000 customers in November 2009, and the EDF analysis shows the average household savings is 2.1%. A separate Opower analysis identified more than $600,000 in aggregate savings. This is equivalent to taking 662 homes off the grid, or 854 cars off of the road.

Source: Environmental Defense Fund