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ACEEE Report Sees Rapid Growth in Home Efficiency Programs

There has been a rapid growth in the number and budgets of natural gas energy efficiency programs for U.S. homes, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

A National Review of Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Programs says that nationwide the budgets for these programs reached $942 million in 2010, up from $125 million in 2005 (see graph).

The 2010 programs saved 529 million therms – enough natural gas to take care of the needs of 695,000 average American homes, ACEEE says.

The trend is for continued growth and expansion of these programs, particularly in response to state policies that have set high savings goals for customer energy efficiency programs, ACEEE says.

ACEEE found that 40 states now have natural gas efficiency programs in place. Of these 40, 23 provide such programs to all customer sectors: low-income, residential, commercial and industrial. Some 11 states have programs for all customer sectors except for the industrial sector. Four states have programs only for low-income customers, the report says.

In a review of the year, ACEEE’s executive director said in December that efforts to improve energy efficiency had progressed in many areas in 2011 while stagnating in others.

Steve Nadel was encouraged by developments in investment in energy efficiency and the state-level introduction of energy efficient building codes. But progress at the federal level – largely a result of Washington’s gridlocked political system – was a disappointment, Nadel said.

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