The following is a viewpoint by Maria Stamas, Western Director of Energy Affordability with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Andrew McAllister, a Commissioner of the California Energy Commission.
Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about how energy efficiency helps ensure our appliances aren’t wasting energy and that keeping our showers warm doesn’t cause our energy bills to soar. Modern technology ensures we usually don’t have to think about these things. However, many families feel the pinch once the monthly utility bills arrive, and one in five households reduce or forego other necessities such as food and medicine to afford those energy payments.
These facts are especially pertinent in October, which also is known as Energy Awareness Month. In a state that continues to face a housing affordability crisis, with a fast-rising homelessness population, energy efficiency is a frequently-overlooked strategy to help California families stay on top of their bills. Deep energy efficiency savings — on the order of an easily achievable 20 to 30 percent per property — also help maintain and preserve affordable rental homes for low-income Californians.