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Energy efficiency and community resilience: making the connection to keep the lights on and our homes warm

By David Ribeiro , Research Analyst from ACEEE

Communities face a growing number of stresses that pose risks to their energy systems and economies. These include aging infrastructure in need of costly maintenance upgrades and severe weather events. Energy efficiency is a strategy-albeit not a broadly recognized one-to enhance the resilience of energy systems and the communities they serve. One example is the role that CHP played during Superstorm Sandy to keep the power on at critical facilities, including hospitals and universities, when 8.5 million customers lost power. But efficiency could also be key to community resilience in less obvious ways, including helping communities to weather economic stresses. For example, natural gas customers in Massachusetts are paying more on their bills this winter because insufficient transmission infrastructure in the state is leading to congestion in the transmission system. Natural gas efficiency programs would help natural gas customers avoid paying these high congestion prices and allow them to spend more on other potential needs, further improving community resilience.


Communities that embrace energy efficiency are more “resource resilient.” That is, energy efficiency reduces a community’s natural resources demands, enabling it to instead spend its income on needs that directly benefit the local economy, including other resilience measures. Take energy efficiency improvements in homes. They make communities more resilient in several ways: spending on efficiency creates more economic activity and jobs; buildings have increased economic value, durability, and safety in case of disaster; energy savings from improvements means fewer emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, improving public health; and smaller and less volatile energy bills allows households to spend their money in more beneficial ways…

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Written by greenlivingguy

The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from: # Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions) # Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman # Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel # Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky # Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley # Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke # Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley # Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea # and more green living books to follow.