Most people agree that buying locally produced goods and services is a good thing. Take the “farm-to-table” experience: people like the fact that the food is considered fresher and healthier; plus, there are environmental, economic and community benefits that produce a halo effect.
It’s not just food. Buying local is a trend that’s spreading across many different industries, including renewable energy. More and more companies are purchasing their energy locally, or even producing it themselves. Many people are realizing that they don’t need to spend extra to transport less clean energy from outdated and distant power plants when cheaper, cleaner options can be found in their own backyard. In the process, they are seeing significant economic benefits while also making their buildings more resilient, producing lower carbon emissions and creating jobs.
These are all positive developments. However, when considering energy options, the first question you should ask is: What are the energy efficiency improvements that I can implement right now? Whether it’s upgrading to LEDs, replacing your HVAC systems, or boosting water savings, on-site energy efficiency is always the best local solution.
As Maggie Molina from ACEEE wrote for us earlier this year, “Energy efficiency–the kilowatt-hours we avoid by eliminating waste–remains, on average, our nation’s least-cost resource. Efficiency delivers a host of other benefits. It improves electric grid reliability and resilience, can target savings where and when needed the most, creates jobs (Energy efficiency employs 2.25 million people in the US today), spurs economic development, reduces customer utility bills, makes homes and buildings more comfortable, and reduces harmful pollution.”
So the next time you’re thinking about acting locally with your energy needs, think first about energy efficiency solutions. There is nothing more local and impactful than energy efficiency. It is where you live and work.