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In Michigan, investing in energy efficiency is paying off for the climate and the wallet.

To meet state requirements for reducing wasted energy, Michigan utilities have implemented a range of energy efficiency programs. For example, some offer customers free energy audits and rebates for efficient appliances.

The energy efficiency programs are funded by a surcharge on customer utility bills. But for every dollar they’re charged, customers have saved, on average, more than four.

Gonzalez: “The cumulative effect of the efficiency programs between 2009 and 2016 was a net bill savings of three point three billion dollars.”

That’s Ariana Gonzalez with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She says now the state is working to ensure that energy efficiency programs reach low-income homeowners and renters.

She says lower energy bills can free up a little extra money for other necessities, such as groceries or rent.

Gonzalez: “We see energy efficiency as having a huge impact on people’s everyday lives. Annually the savings may be around a couple hundred bucks for a homeowner or renter, and thousands of dollars for a building owner. Each month’s savings can really add up to make a difference.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...