Over the past 15 years, utility-run energy efficiency programming has produced significant energy savings, customer cost savings and a host of system-wide and societal benefits throughout the Midwest. Unfortunately, these benefits are not fully understood or recognized by many state legislators and other policymakers. As a result, MEEA and other energy efficiency industry experts must recurringly defend EE policies from those who misunderstand how efficiency is funded, its value and impact for utility customers and its widespread benefits within individual states and throughout the region.
Summer is just getting into full swing, and across the country some communities are already roasting. Perhaps uncoincidentally, the process to adopt energy benchmarking policies is also heating up. Because buildings contribute to a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, benchmarking policies are often part of city and state energy and climate plans. By tracking reliable and consistent energy consumption data, these policies can enable better decision-making around building energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Public policy leaders around the country are striving to find cost-effective and feasible ways to rapidly mitigate and adapt to climate change. Recently, MEEA conducted a review of climate action plans throughout the Midwest to better understand how leaders are approaching climate action, and the degree to which energy efficiency is incorporated. After an analysis of 15 midwestern cities ranging in size from Bloomfield, Iowa with 2,694 people to Chicago with almost 3 million, we identified cities that are employing particularly unique, innovative and thoughtful initiatives into their climate action plans.