Meeting the climate change imperative through deep efficiency: A VEIC vision

While there’s growing consensus about the need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there has been comparatively little said about how we actually do so. In Blair Hamilton’s 2007 talk, he described a set of specific strategies and tactics to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. These ranged from improving rule-making procedures, to drafting new legislation, to revising building codes-steps that would maximize the use of available energy-efficiency resources and reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources.

The bottom line: energy efficiency can provide for nearly 50% of future energy requirements.

The plan called for reaching a wider range of people and making it easy for them to choose efficiency over the status quo. It included greater access to financing and technical assistance. It also called for going deeper with existing efforts by employing net-zero approaches and upgrading to the latest technology across the residential and business sectors.

Specific recommendations included:

  • All buildings (commercial and residential) to be constructed and retrofitted for net-zero energy use or the highest performance possible;
  • Development practices and policies to be transformed based on a need to reduce energy use while strengthening the vitality of communities;
  • The ability for homeowners, businesses, and governments to purchase the highest quality and most efficient products through new equipment and building standards;
  • A comprehensive role for Energy Efficiency Utilities and for energy regulators in which they balance a mix of demand and supply, while enabling distributed production of renewable energy.
  • Locational efficiency, as well as building efficiency, to have carry equal weight in decision-making in an effort to reduce total energy use.

Although this was presented six years ago, the guiding principles and recommendations hold true today. VEIC is putting these into practice and realizing Blair’s vision through our large-scale Energy Efficiency Utility (EEUs)—The DC SEU, Efficiency Vermont, and Efficiency Smart—and through our work on Transportation Efficiency. Learn more about our results in these areas.