Energy efficiency and energy conservation
are often referred to as the cheapest and cleanest sources of
energy. Energy efficiency is achieved through the application of
technology, such as insulation upgrades, compact fluorescent
bulbs (CFLs), high efficiency furnaces, and so forth.
Energy conservation is achieved through behavioral changes, such
as turning off lights when not needed, using household appliances
differently, carpooling, and so forth. Reducing energy
consumption is generally applied to the built environment, such
as building energy efficiency and home energy efficiency.
BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Building energy use is determined by the mix of building types,
the land-use pattern, and the location of the building. A land
use pattern that contains more mixed-use, walkable and urban
infill development accommodates more energy-efficient building
types like townhomes, apartments, and smaller single-family
homes, as well as more compact commercial building types.
Location is also an important factor —buildings in the warmer
areas of the region require more energy for cooling during the
summer months. Assuming the same efficiency standards,
the RTP/SCS assumes 8 percent less energy per year when
compared to a land use pattern that reflects past development
trends. Additionally, the overall energy savings that come from
compact development translates to meaningful savings in
residential energy bills. On average, the RTP/SCS saves
approximately $950 million per year in total by 2035, or about
$130 per household.
HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Energy efficiency is generally thought of as doing more with
less. The goal is to accomplish the same tasks and functions as
before while using less energy. Common areas of focus include
more efficient lighting and appliances, more efficient mechanical
systems, such as air conditioners and heaters, more efficient
buildings, such as wall and roof insulation, as well as more
efficient electrical wiring and smart control systems.
There are a number of local, state and Federal educational
programs that provide information and data on energy efficiency
programs and products, such as Energy Upgrade California, or
Southern California Edison’s expert-facilitated workshops and
seminars. Cities such as Irvine or Santa Monica provide energy
efficiency programs, as do regional organizations such as the
South Bay Environmental Services Center (SBESC).
There are a number of local, state and Federal financing programs
that provide rebates or tax credit information on energy
efficiency products, such as the South Bay Environmental Services
Center (SBESC), California’s Energy Upgrade California, or the US
Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block
Case Study: The Western Riverside Council of Governments HERO
Program provides low-interest rate financing for permanently
affixed energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy
products, in order to reduce utility bills and greenhouse gas
emissions in the SCAG region.