The rising cost of energy has profound implications for everyone from homeowners to businesses. One of the best ways to counter this is to increase energy efficiency so that more can be done while consuming less. The government has been doing its share in promoting efficiency through various programs and policies. State governors are at the forefront of this movement and their efforts over the past few decades have resulted in substantial gains for their constituents.
It all starts with energy planning. The complexity of the issues involved makes it necessary to plan steps carefully, looking into the possible implications of each proposed policy change with an objective lens. Experts have been tapped to study possible sources of energy savings and make quantitative analysis so that projects can be prioritized. They also try to learn from what others are already doing to adopt best practices.
A big part of energy consumption comes from homes and commercial buildings. Therefore, any drive to advance energy efficiency must tackle their excesses. States have revised their building codes to ensure that the designs and materials used are going to promote decreased consumption. Many have also approved policies that are aimed to encourage people to purchase the most efficient appliances on the market. Improving energy efficiency rules and standards have led to profound and lasting changes.
Another tactic is to persuade utility companies to invest more on measures that would lead to greater efficiency in their daily operations, with the effects cascading to their customers. Initial investments on these upgrades are often costly so governments offer incentives that would make them feasible from a business perspective. A number of these are performance-based with state support dependent on achieving certain targets.
Governors have also pushed for other policies that push for greater private sector participation. Those who wish to make improvements on their homes or buildings may apply for aid from a few states. Repayment and financing schemes have been tweaked to make it easier than ever before to go green and help consumers lower their energy costs.
Universities have been asked to join the effort as well. The achievements gained thus far have been encouraging but more needs to be done and continuous research is essential in steering the programs to the right direction for the future.