Is your home CHERPing?


A partnership with the City of Claremont, California,
local energy efficiency experts and volunteers.

What is the economic significance of energy efficiency and renewable energy?

CHERP is acutely aware of the environmental and economic significance behind our energy usage. To us, it feels prudent that we reflect on the available data so that we can make more informed decisions. Not only can we create more comfortable, affordable lives for ourselves, but we can help create a better environment for future generations.   

Nationwide, buildings represent 77% of our electricity consumption, 49% of our energy consumption, and 47% of greenhouse gas emissions. Residential buildings are responsible for 22% of our national energy consumption. In Claremont, homes are responsible for 80% of our total energy consumption. Any efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions must make residential buildings a primary target. 

While many think renewable energy installations like solar panels are more important than insulation and "efficiency", energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions, and provides a far greater return on investment than renewable installations. Most of the energy we currently produce is wasted -- in power plants, through transmission, through air leaks in homes, etc -- so before we make major investments in more energy (that we wouldn't need if we were to increase the efficiency with which energy is produced, transmitted, and consumed), it's essential to increase efficiency.

When looking at potential energy upgrades for your home, you should keep in mind a few important considerations:

1) Energy Efficiency is about more than electricity. In North American homes, the biggest source of energy consumption is space heating and cooling. Space heating, in turn, is largely fueled by oil and natural gas. Improving energy efficiency is the most effective step most of us can do to reduce our space heating and cooling needs.

2) Return on investment. Air sealing might be a $1,000 dollar investment upfront, and could save you $500 or more per year, which would give you a 2-year ROI. 

3) Energy Efficiency is about more than energy savings. Sealing air leaks and upgrading insulation improve comfort, indoor air quality and building durability, in addition to providing a high return on investment in terms of energy savings.