Report: Energy Savings Could Pay Off America’s Credit Cards

American households could save more than $1,000 a year by boosting energy efficiency at home and on the road over the next two decades, according to a new analysis from the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy.

The commission’s report, Energy 2030, outlines a broad plan to double U.S. energy productivity—that  is, to get twice the economic mileage for the same amount of energy use—by 2030. The commission, co-chaired by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and National Grid US executive’ Tom King, looked at not only households but also business and government, estimating that with an investment of $166 billion in more efficient buildings, vehicles and other sources of energy waste, the United States could add 1.3 million jobs and save $327 billion by 2030.

For households, the bill for efficiency improvements would be $97 billion, but the gains would be $241 billion, for a net annual savings of $145 billion, which breaks down to $1,039 per home, according to the report. That amount is nearly equivalent to what the average household spends on education, or on medicine and produce combined, as seen in this graph taken from the analysis:

View Images

“Over the life of the investment, net savings from a doubling of American energy productivity would allow American households to settle all outstanding credit card debt,” the commission’s report said.

According to the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program, the average annual energy bill for a single family home (not counting transportation) is $2,200, the bulk of which is taken up by heating and cooling costs. (See also: “A Model Net Zero Home by the Numbers.“) If households could achieve the savings predicted in the commission’s report, that would cut this average bill by nearly half.

Have you spent money to make your home more energy efficient? Have the savings been worth it?