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Our Campaigns

The Cleanest Energy: Conservation & Efficiency

Goal: Convince 10 states to pass laws to improve energy efficiency, and provide citizens with actions to take at home and in your community.
As energy waste goes down, savings go up

The amount of energy America is wasting is almost too big to believe. In 2018, the nation wasted two thirds of the energy that it consumed. While this waste is largely caused by inefficient, non-renewable energy production systems, how we use energy in our homes, businesses and travels also contribute to our waste problem.

Solutions abound. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that we can reduce our overall energy usage by 50 percent below current levels by midcentury, simply by using better technologies and eliminating waste across our economy.

Reducing energy use creates big savings—for our planet, our climate and our health. More efficient energy use will clean up our air and help combat climate change. As an added bonus, reducing energy consumption results in lower energy bills.

The next step in a bold vision

We can address the largest environmental challenges of our time by shifting toward 100 percent renewable energy. And the fastest and easiest way to get to 100 percent is to reduce the amount of energy we need in the first place. So first things first: let's cut our energy use and energy waste. That means saving energy in our homes and businesses and reducing the amount of energy we use for transportation. 

Everyone can pitch in by taking action at home, at work and in their communities. At the same time, we need strong policies to ensure that we have better, more energy-efficient electric buildings, and appliances alongside programs that help save energy. The Cleanest Energy campaign is focused on three arenas in which we can make the most immediate progress:

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1. Reducing residential energy use

Saving energy is a common-sense solution, and it enjoys broad support. Americans can embrace energy efficiency and conservation in our own homes and businesses — meaning we can make tangible progress in energy savings without waiting for the government to act.

From small changes, such as switching light bulbs to LEDs, to big changes, like installing solar panels on the roof, there are many ways we can begin to address energy waste and energy efficiency in our own homes.

Environment North Carolina and our national network recently created a Citizen’s Guide for Reducing Energy Waste, to help people identify the areas of their homes and businesses where energy use can be reduced.

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2. Improving appliance efficiency standards

Another important way to reduce energy use is to make sure that all appliances and products on the market are using energy as efficiently as possible.

Alongside our national network, Environment North Carolna is calling on local and state governments to promote energy conservation and efficiency through policymaking. By winning appliance efficiency standards at the local and state levels, we can generate energy savings, reduce environmental damage and create momentum that helps other communities follow suit.

Thomas Kelsey, U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathalon

3. Building smarter and more efficiently

While we each work to improve residential energy efficiency, we must also make sure that institutions, cities and states are maintaining high efficiency standards for their infrastructure. 

Environment North Carolina is working to improve building codes so that all new buildings are constructed to meet zero net energy by 2030. That would mean that every new building constructed just a decade from now will be able to produce all the energy it needs onsite from solar panels or wind turbines.

To achieve this goal, we must set an ambitious agenda. Our team of researchers, advocates and organizers is working to promote investment in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings by 30 percent by 2030. In addition to increased efficiency, we will provide resources and reduce energy consumption in existing buildings by 50 percent by 2050.

4. Electrifying all new and existing buildings

The easiest way to power our homes and businesses with energy from the sun and the wind is to switch from burning fossil fuels over to electricity that comes from a green electric grid. To get there, we first need to advocate for local and state governments to commit to going all-electric for all new buildings. We also need a plan to phase out fossil-fuel infrastructure in existing buildings by encouraging energy efficient retrofits. As older buildings get renovated and fossil-fuel appliances and heating systems expire, they should be replaced with cleaner electric technologies. 

Environment North Carolina is dedicated to ensuring that the systems that provide heat, hot water and run appliances in our homes and businesses are powered entirely by electricity.

Stand up for energy savings

We can use less energy by conserving energy and using it more efficiently. Sign up to learn more about action you can take at home, in your community and in North Carolina.