Most of the time when we talk about energy efficiency in this industry, we talk about the economics. When trying to convince building owners, businesses and policy makers to invest in energy efficiency, our first instinct is to make the financial argument; these are solid investments with quick and reliable payback times. And while those arguments are getting easier and easier to make, the environmental argument is just as important. Recently we’ve seen a lot of scary headlines about the effects of climate change, and the devastating hurricanes and floods along the east coast have made those dangers visually present. And since we have a suite of tools (Encentivizer® – you can read more about it here) that helps all users make better energy efficiency decisions we truly get inspired that our tools help reduce strain on the environment as well.
The Paris Agreement developed in 2015 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change set in place the international goal to maintain global temperature rise under 2º Celsius, and to strive to keep it at 1.5º Celsius. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report only strengthened the argument and highlighted the difference between rising temperatures of 1.5º and 2º Celsius. Compared to 1.5º Celsius of warming, at 2º Celsius warming 2.6 times more of the world’s population would be at risk for regular severe heat waves. Three times as many species would lose over half of their habitable space, and we would lose over 38% more arctic permafrost (WRI). Countless other effects including the sea-level rise, declining fisheries, and the loss of practically all coral reefs, we could be looking at a very different earth in the next 20-40 years.
Thankfully, the IPCC report doesn’t only tell us how destructive the global temperature rise could be, it also presents different situations on how to achieve the 1.5º Celsius benchmark. While all these situations require a rapid change to our energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable energy, to around 50% by 2030 (Brookings). But even with a change to clean energy, all situations also require either a reduction or stabilization in total energy use. Without a drastic change to our daily habits and industrial system, energy efficiency will play a huge role in achieving our climate goals. The US DOE estimates we could reduce our projected energy use by 16% by simply implementing energy efficiency measures that are currently achievable (DOE).
While the United States may not be federally mandated to comply with the Paris Agreement, we can all do our part in lowering our energy usage. We can lobby and encourage our local policy makers to further promote energy efficiency programs, and create projects with our customers and ourselves.
If you are in the energy efficiency industry as a professional, manufacturer, or utility, Encentivizer makes achieving your energy efficiency goals easier. Get help with utility rebates and help reduce the strain on our planet.