Energy Efficiency on the Westcoast

The US economy has made some steps towards recovery from the most recent recession, and innovation and initiatives in energy efficiency have played a part in the recovery. The US is a country that has considerable potential for improvements in energy efficiency, especially in green construction and energy efficient appliances (buildings account for roughly 40% of all U.S. energy use. Innovators that offer efficiency solutions will find a growing market in the US over the course of the decade.

Especially in California, companies that provide energy efficiency solutions will find business opportunities; the state’s efficiency goals are among the most ambitious of any state in the nation.  The state’s celebrated Title 24 building energy efficiency standards are an important reason why Californians pay 20% less on their electricity bill than the average American.  New rules will push the state much further; by 2020, all new residential construction must be net-zero energy.  A great assembly of scientific research capacity—five national laboratories and five of the nation’s leading research universities call the region home—as well as the availability of venture capital is attracting companies from around the world to help reach the state’s long-term energy efficiency goals.  

USA Energy Efficiency Important Facts


  • Economically feasible energy savings potential over the time period from 2011 to 2020, given 2011 technology and prices, are 9,525 GWh, or 29% of base energy consumption.  Total energy savings potential in the same time period amount to 10,693 GWh, or 33% of base energy consumption
  • Efficiency companies have a great potential to tap: 40% of commercial buildings and more than half of all residential buildings in California were built before 1978, when the state first started implementing new buildings standards
  • California’s Energy Action Plan requires energy needs to be met by energy efficiency gains before adding additional power generation
  • California public utilities spent $123 million in 2010 on purchases related to energy efficiency programs.  Investor-owned utilities spent $755 million in the same year.  Growing investment in such programs makes California an ideal market for efficiency solutions
  • As of July 2012, there are 41,706 LEED certified green buildings in the US and 6,125 (14.6%) in California.  Companies may take advantage of the push toward LEED certification by providing solutions that maximize utility from energy
  • Innovators that can provide energy-saving technology to be outfitted in old buildings as well as installed in new buildings will be well-positioned to take advantage of a greater proportion of efficiency construction projects
  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) rated the west coast states as among the most energy efficient in the union. These rankings are based on states’ energy efficiency policies—on both how high states set goals and how well they achieve them.  California has adopted ambitious energy-efficiency standards in order to create jobs, develop the state’s economy, and protect the environment
  • Over the past years, the German American Chamber of Commerce, Office for the Western United States has organized a multitude of Energy Efficiency conferences on the west coast as bilateral platforms for U.S. and German experts to exchange the latest knowledge, thoughts, and trends with the goal of fostering successful German-American business partnerships (see Event Archive)