Energy efficiency will receive its largest U.S. government investments ever from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022—a testament to efficiency’s essential and wide-ranging role in a clean energy future.
The sweeping bill, approved by Congress and signed into law this month, includes billions of dollars in funding to help people buy electric cars and make energy-saving home upgrades. It includes $3 billion for a Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant program to improve walkability and affordable transportation via measures such as new trails or bike lanes.
The law underscores efficiency’s value in building a dynamic, low-carbon economy.
Similarly, a new multimedia ACEEE project shows that energy efficiency—a remarkable success story of the past 40 years—will be just as important (if not more so) in the coming decades. It makes the case that efficiency will be essential for equitably addressing the climate crisis, even as more renewable energy enters the power grid and often grabs the spotlight.
The StoryMap, released today, shows how energy efficiency has evolved. Yes, efficiency still means doing more with less or using less energy to get the same job done. Yet many people may not realize that efficiency now goes beyond a single product, vehicle, or building. It optimizes how we use energy throughout the economy, getting all parts to work better together—like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
This systems-wide version is not your grandparents' efficiency. It uses big data, advanced technology, and sophisticated design to optimize how we do things. For example, streamlined freight delivery routes minimize empty truck space and wasted miles, thereby requiring less fuel.
Today’s efficiency makes the transition to renewable power faster, easier, and more affordable. The reason is simple: the less electricity we use, the less we need to generate. And the emissions-free energy we do generate can power more homes, cars, and buildings, lowering costs.
ACEEE’s StoryMap shows all of us the value and urgency of investing in energy efficiency—the heart of our clean energy future.