1. Nutmeggers have saved more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in energy over the last five years1
That’s equivalent to fully powering 169,000 houses in Connecticut for an entire year.2 For reference, Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, has approximately 51,000 occupied housing units3 so with the energy saved over the last five years, we would have more than enough to power three cities the same size as Bridgeport for an entire year.
This number doesn’t even include the additional lifetime savings that we know will be realized in the future thanks to these investments in energy efficiency now. If you include those savings, Connecticut residents and businesses will save more than 18.3 billion kWh.4 That’s equivalent to:
- 2,058,030 houses powered for one year (1.5 times all of the occupied homes in Connecticut), or
- Millstone’s annual generation (Millstone is Connecticut’s largest power plant),5 or
- Combined annual generation of the next 15 largest power plants in Connecticut6
What do these savings mean in real terms? They mean lower overall energy demand and lower overall energy costs for everybody. Lower demand also means that the power grid can better handle times of peak use, such as the heights of summer and the depths of winter.
These energy savings translate to carbon dioxide emissions reductions of 13.5 million tons over the lifetime of these investments.7 That’s more than the amount of carbon sequestered by planting 300,000,000 trees and letting them grow for 10 years.8
2. Connecticut’s residents and businesses have achieved more than $3.8 billion in lifetime savings on their energy bills
Energy efficiency investments over the last five years will save Connecticut consumers approximately $3,818,900,0009 over the life of those investments. This is money that consumers don’t have to spend on their energy bills.
Most money that is spent on energy goes to large, out-of-state energy corporations, such as merchant generators that rely on natural gas to fuel their power plants. Money that isn’t spent on energy can instead be spent on goods and services right here in Connecticut. This local spending grows our economy and spurs job creation. The money saved by Connecticut’s 2015 investment in energy efficiency will end up generating approximately 9,258 new jobs, for example.10
3. Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs have served 242,222 homes over the last five years11
This number includes rebates for efficient HVAC systems, as well as 162,270 homes that were weatherized from 2011 to 2015. In 2015 alone, Connecticut’s Home Energy Solutions (HES) and Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) Programs served 55,166 homes.12 That’s more than the total number of housing units in Connecticut’s second largest city — New Haven.13
These programs provide energy auditing services that help residents assess how best to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. These statewide programs will even install many of these important improvements on the spot. They also offer price reductions for purchasing energy efficient appliances and products for the home.
4. Connecticut has converted enough energy efficient light bulbs to fill 300 average-sized swimming pools
A recent report sponsored by Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency Board shows that LED and CFL bulbs have saturated 45% of the residential market in the state.14 This means that approximately 45% of household lighting in Connecticut uses these high-efficiency bulbs.
Using more efficient bulbs can significantly reduce energy consumption — and they’re more convenient because they last longer. LEDs in particular last 30 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use up to 85% less energy.
5. Connecticut has more work to do!
All of these impressive achievements are important, but there is more work to do.
Saturation of LEDs in Connecticut is only at 10%. LEDs out-perform CFLs in many ways: they are more energy efficient, they last longer, and people are happier with them. Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs need to continue to incentivize consumers to switch to LEDs to encourage even greater energy savings.
If the HES and HES-IE programs continue at their current pace, it will take almost 15 years to reach even half of the occupied houses in Connecticut. Expanded funding is vital in order to keep these crucial residential programs going strong.
Use of these valuable programs could also be improved. When a resident uses HES to assess and improve their home, HES usually recommends additional work to be done to improve the home’s energy efficiency. More of this additional work, such as adding attic, wall, or basement insulation, needs to be done in order to make Connecticut’s homes more efficient.
It is also worth noting that Massachusetts and Rhode Island are outperforming Connecticut in energy efficiency. The most recent energy efficiency savings rates in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are 3.04% and 2.9% per year, respectively, while Connecticut is at 1.53% — strong nationally, but regionally only half of its leading neighbors. This means that Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs could be eliminating double the energy waste that they currently do. Imagine twice the energy saved, twice the carbon pollution avoided, and twice the cash saved on energy bills!
1 Calculation from adding up annual savings reported in the Energy Efficiency Fund’s Annual Legislative Reports from 2011 to 2015.
2 Based on average of 8,892 kWh annually required per household.
3 Bridgeport has 51,255 occupied housing units according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
4 Calculation from adding up lifetime savings reported in the Energy Efficiency Fund’s Annual Legislative Reports from 2011 to 2015.
5 Based on Millstone’s gross generation for 2014. Data from: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia923/.
6 Based on gross generation of Connecticut’s power plants in 2014. Data from: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia923/.
7 From Energy Efficiency Fund’s Annual Legislative Reports from 2011 to 2015.
8 Based on 23.2 lbs of carbon per tree. Estimate given by EPA GHG Equivalencies Calculator: https://www.epa.gov/energy/ghg-equivalencies-calculator-calculations-and-references.
9 From Energy Efficiency Fund’s Annual Legislative Reports from 2011 to 2015.
10 From Energy Efficiency Fund’s Annual Legislative Report for 2015.
11 Data from HES/HES-IE Performance numbers reported in CT Statewide Energy Efficiency Dashboard for 2011-2015.
12 Same as above.
13 According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New Haven has 54,967 housing units (48,877 occupied housing units).
14 LED Lighting Study Report (Jan 2016): http://www.energizect.com/sites/default/files/R154%20-%20CT%20LED%20Lighting%20Study_Final%20Report_1.28.16.pdf.