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:


“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?

(See related post: “U.S. Bids Farewell to the 75-Watt Incandescent Light Bulb.“)


  1. Alessandra Ribeiro
    August 8, 2013, 8:39 am

    Energy-efficient fossil power
    Growing global energy demands put pressure on both the supply and the prices of oil, gas, and coal. As fossil energy sources are an important part of maintaining a stable energy network in the U.S., it is crucial to use these resources in a sustainable manner.

  2. STAN
    United States
    February 15, 2013, 6:31 pm

    President Obama had less than 0.9 Trillion investment which saved
    states and schools from going bust. I have to admit not all of it was wise investment. The President did not expand the government expenses . This 6 T is total deficit caused by decrease in tax income due to recession of economy. In other words he kept the government expenses as President Busch left. So the 6 T is recession tax income decreases and additional expenses included Busch’ tax cuts, Senior medical donut coverage, war expenses etc. So lets not use hyperbole.

  3. J P
    February 12, 2013, 8:41 am

    Obama will never deliver his 6 trillion deficit investment and I do not think anyone else will either. We can save so much more as a country in just recycle and with this comes more jobs as well as more tax revenue.
    Our weekly garbage can we take out should not be more than 5 percent. and that alone is such a money savings and it can be done for it is done in other countries.
    And yes I use 15 watt bulbs

  4. GD
    February 11, 2013, 4:35 pm

    We’ve insulated our house, stopped up the air leaks, installed a heat-recovery ventilator and an ultra-efficient boiler with a side-arm water heater. We now use about 50% less gas than before the upgrades. We live in a 50+ year old house, and this is significant. We got some (about 1/3) refunding of our expenses from the state, and appreciate having such a cozy house now. In this part of Alaska, we are facing gas shortfalls. Expanding the weatherization program will ease the pressure on gas depletion.

  5. The Fixer
    Catonsville, MD
    February 9, 2013, 6:40 pm

    I have made tried many technologies for saving energy over the years. One simple upgrade that saves a lot of money is a heat pump hot water heater. It isn’t applicable for every situation, but in two houses I’ve owned, with unheated basement areas, they save about $75/month (about an 18 month return on investment). The new GE model is very simple to install. The Mr Slim heat pump is a very good technology and works down to 15 degrees. Of course, insulation in the attic or roof is always a quick return on investment.

  6. KL
    February 8, 2013, 2:23 pm

    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.


    “Investment” I assume means government spending financed by increased taxes, money borrowed from China or printed out of thin air. Considering the millions of non-existant green jobs Obama never delivered with his $6 trillion in deficit “investment” the past four years, forgive my lack of enthusiasm for more of the same.