Did you know that California is one of the United States’ largest energy users? This is because it is home to 38 million people – that’s 1 in 8 Americans, the most populous state – and to the Silicon Valley.
Did you know, however, that the Golden State also boasts of one of the lowest per-capita energy use in the country? In fact, its per capita electricity use has remained flat in the last 40 years in stark contrast to the steady rise within the country.
Why? Because California has one of the most proactive legislation in energy efficiency for all residential and non-residential structures!
The energy efficiency standards enforced by virtue of Title 24 have contributed to the reduced overall electricity bills for the Golden State – a whopping $74 billion since its inception in the late 1970s.
These standards not only reduce energy use on both electricity and natural gas in California but also provide for another benefit – the curtailment of new power plant construction in the state. Keep in mind that power plants leave considerable carbon footprints of their own so the lesser the necessity for new construction, the lesser the carbon footprints.
Truly, the California energy sector is one of the most efficient in the country for two reasons. First, the state produces approximately 70 percent of its electricity requirements from power plants within its boundaries and from out-of-state power plants owned by California utilities; the 30 percent comes from imported electricity.
Second, the state’s renewable energy sector is one of the best in the country. It was born of adversity – the 1970s oil crisis that highlighted the state’s, if not the nation’s, deplorable dependency on fossil fuels.
Suffice it to say that Title 24 is an outstanding measure for several reasons:
• Reduce dependency on fossil fuels and, hence, avert another oil crisis
• Lessen carbon footprints on the individual and societal levels, thus, reducing the impact of human activities on the environment
• Encourage the use of energy efficient methods from mechanical systems (e.g., heating and cooling) to the home appliances as well as the use of renewable energy resources like solar panels and wind turbines
• Examine energy use and find innovations for better energy efficiency
You will be hard-pressed to find similar measures with similar levels of success in other states – only in California, indeed!