PhotoThere are many hidden benefits to improving energy efficiency — beyond simply saving energy and reducing carbon pollution.

Russell: “It may also improve productivity as measured by increased output per day, it can enhance product quality or reduce error rates. It may improve workplace safety or comfort. It may provide some businesses the ability to expand their product or service offerings.”

That’s Christopher Russell, Visiting Fellow with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. He says that quantifying these additional benefits can make the difference in a company’s motivation to invest in energy efficiency.

But calculating these additional benefits can be difficult. For example, after switching to LED lights, some advantages are immediately obvious, such as improved lighting and lower electricity bills. But since LEDs last about 40 times longer than incandescent bulbs, other benefits — like less staff time spent changing light bulbs, and fewer waste products — are realized more slowly over time.

Russell says these other benefits can be overlooked if no one bothers to connect the dots. He is now working to quantify some of these hidden benefits and provide companies with additional incentives to improve their energy efficiency.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

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Multiple Benefits of Business-Sector Energy Efficiency: A Survey of Existing and Potential Measures

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...