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Our Campaigns

The Cleanest Energy: Conservation & Efficiency

Goal: Convince our state to pass laws to improve energy efficiency, and provide citizens with actions you can take at home and in your communities.

The cleanest energy is the energy we don’t consume in the first place. The way we currently produce and consume virtually all our energy does lasting damage to our environment, our climate and our health—and to make matters worse, much of that energy goes to waste. If we don’t consume as much energy, we don’t need to produce as much. Less production means less pollution and a healthier climate, planet and people.

Additionally, we can produce all the energy we need from clean sources like the sun and the wind. By wasting less energy, we can ease and speed up our transition to clean, renewable energy.

As energy waste goes down, savings go up

The amount of energy we’re wasting is almost too big to believe. In 2017, America consumed 97.7 quadrillion Btus, two-thirds of which was wasted (Lawrence Livermore Lab 2017).  But the good news is that our energy use and its impacts on our planet are within our control. 

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that we can reduce our overall energy usage by 40 to 60 percent below current levels by mid-century simply by using better technologies and eliminating waste across our economy.  

Reducing energy use creates big savings—for our planet, our climate and our health. Better efficiency will clean up our air and help combat climate change and its pervasive threat to our future. As an added bonus, reducing energy consumption results in lower energy bills.

The next step in a bold vision

We can address the largest environmental challenges of our time by shifting toward 100 percent renewable energy. And the fastest and easiest way to get to 100 percent is to reduce the amount of energy we need in the first place. So first things first: let's cut our energy use and energy waste. That means saving energy in our homes and businesses and reducing the amount of energy we use for transportation.

Everyone can pitch in by taking action at home, at work and in their communities. At the same time, we need strong policies to ensure that we have better, more energy-efficient buildings, appliances and programs that help save energy. The Cleanest Energy campaign is focused on three arenas in which we can make the most immediate progress:

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Reducing residential energy use

Saving energy is a common sense solution, and it enjoys broad support. Increasing energy efficiency and promoting energy conservation in homes and businesses is achievable in our own homes —meaning we can win tangible energy conservation victories without waiting for the federal government to act.

From small changes, such as switching all your light bulbs to LEDs, to big changes, like installing solar panels on your roof, there are many ways we can begin to address energy waste and energy efficiency within our own homes.

Environment Minnesota is providing resources, such as a Citizen’s Guide for Reducing Energy Waste, to help people identify the areas of their homes and businesses that can use energy more wisely.

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Building smarter and more efficiently

While we each must work to reduce energy use in our homes, we must also make sure that institutions, cities and states are maintaining strong efficiency standards for their infrastructure.

To achieve this goal, we must set an ambitious agenda. Our team of researchers and advocates are working toward a goal of cutting energy use in our state’s buildings in half by 2050 by requiring high performance new buildings and by promoting investments in weatherization and major retrofits for existing buildings.

Environment Minnesota is working to improve building codes so that all new buildings are constructed to meet net-zero energy by 2030. That would mean that every new building constructed just a decade from now will be able to produce all the energy it needs onsite from solar panels or wind turbines.

Thomas Kelsey, U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathalon

Improving appliance efficiency standards

We also need to make sure that the appliances and products on the market are energy-efficient.

We’re calling on our local and state government to promote energy conservation and efficiency through concrete policy. By winning appliance efficiency standards at the local and state levels, we can generate energy savings, reduce environmental damage, and make it more likely that other communities will follow suit.

Over the course of 2019, we’ll run a campaign in Minnesota to adopt standards that require appliances and other commonly used products and machinery to be more energy efficient. It’s time to stop living in the past. Together, we can take a bold step forward to a cleaner, greener, healthier world that pollutes less and doesn’t let energy go to waste.