SWEEP celebrating 20 years of EE success on Energy Efficiency Day

October 5, 2021 | Josh Valentine

In recognition of the 6th annual national Energy Efficiency Day (#EEDay2021) on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is joining regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, universities, and individuals in promoting energy efficiency — the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut utility bills, and reduce pollution. 

Energy efficiency is also an economic engine, amassing a U.S. workforce of nearly 2.4 million by the beginning of this year. Ranging from professional services to manufacturing, installation, and construction, these good jobs are local and cannot be outsourced. 

Smarter energy use means we don’t have to generate as much power to meet our needs. In its 20 years as an organization, SWEEP has already made significant, forward-thinking investments in energy savings that benefit underserved communities, small businesses, commuters, homeowners, and all of the planet’s inhabitants. Our major energy efficiency accomplishments include: 

  • Due in large part to SWEEP’s advocacy efforts, funding for electric utility energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) programs in the region increased from about $21 million per year in 2001 to about $375 million per year in 2020.
  • The annual energy savings from electric utility DSM programs in the region increased from 625 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year in 2006 to 2300 GWh per year in 2020. SWEEP has helped utilities expand the scope and increase the impact of their efficiency programs, including increasing efforts to assist income-qualified households and historically underserved communities.
  • Households and businesses in the region are expected save about $7.6 billion as a result of utility energy efficiency programs implemented in the region over the past 10 years. Much of these savings would not have been realized without SWEEP’s efforts.
  • Southwestern utilities and states are implementing a number of innovative energy efficiency programs proposed by SWEEP, including programs to support multifamily housing retrofits, advanced LED lighting, connected smart thermostats, heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, and Strategic Energy Management.
  • The region has avoided the need for ten large baseload power plants as a result of utility energy efficiency programs implemented over the past decade. These energy efficiency programs also prevented about 80 million tons of CO2 emissions during the past decade, as well as reducing other pollutants.
  • States in the region have enacted over 130 laws that SWEEP proposed or influenced. These laws:
    • scaled up utility efficiency programs;
    • imposed minimum efficiency standards on light bulbs and other products;
    • expanded energy efficiency assistance for income-qualified households; and
    • established new energy efficiency financing mechanisms.
  • Arizona adopted some of the strongest energy efficiency requirements for investor-owned electric utilities in the nation, requiring electricity savings of 20% by 2020. SWEEP actively supported this policy and helped prevent it from being weakened.
  • With input and leadership from SWEEP, Colorado adopted minimum energy and water efficiency standards on 15 residential and commercial products sold in the state.
  • SWEEP developed and implemented the Colorado Industrial Energy Challenge program which facilitated adoption of energy savings goals and energy efficiency improvements in numerous manufacturing and other industrial facilities in the state.
    • Reducing the energy used by manufacturers, homes, and businesses benefits everyone — especially energy bill-payers. The average household saves almost $500 yearly thanks to efficiency standards that apply to new appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters, alone.

To learn more about SWEEP’s energy efficiency efforts, visit swenergy.org, or join the Twitter conversation using #EEDay2021. For more information on Energy Efficiency Day, visit energyefficiencyday.org.