A new California law has set goals to use energy in buildings 50% more efficiently and to get 50% of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. With regard to the first goal, the challenge is that California has already done a good job of using energy more efficiently at home and work. Californians consume the same amount of electricity per person as 30 years ago, despite the explosion of personal computers, huge televisions, and all the other electronics people enjoy.

The Energy Efficiency Next Level Project is identifying the policy, technology, and market paths to deliver affordable and reliable energy savings on an unprecedented scale. Intelligent energy efficiency is about innovation, not deprivation. Using energy more wisely depends on human actions. It happens on a large scale only when the actions make economic sense and do not lessen quality of life. Increasing the efficiency of existing homes and commercial buildings is not only crucial to addressing climate change. It will also create thousands of jobs and deliver billions of dollars in energy bill savings to fuel California’s economic growth.

Dian Grueneich, senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy, leads the project. Dian was a commissioner on the California Public Utilities Commission from 2005 to 2010 and led its efforts on energy efficiency.

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