Community Impacts of Energy Efficiency

By Georgia Mae Lively–12/4/2019

Energy efficiency is beneficial for individual consumers who choose to use energy more responsibly.  It functions as a tool to cut down on our energy consumption, which helps both the planet and your wallet.  But what does energy efficiency have to do with serving the community and promoting equity and inclusion?

According to our partner organization, the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), energy efficiency can be a vehicle for providing education and employment to the people who need it most, while working to cut down on waste and save the planet.  ECA is a local organization based in North Philly that operates multiple Neighborhood Energy Centers across the city.  Its Knight Green Jobs Training Center in has prepared over 5,000 unemployed or underemployed young people, returning veterans, and older workers to re-tool their skills to enter the growing clean energy workforce.  This commitment to help people conserve energy and to promote a sustainable and socially equitable energy future for all is why The Energy Co-op is working with ECA to offer comprehensive energy audits to our members this winter.


How does it work?

Following a thorough on-site inspection by its technicians, ECA will deliver a comprehensive audit report to our members that not only pinpoints equipment and structural causes of energy waste but also consumer habits that result in higher energy bills.  ECA’s home energy audit is performed by a nationally certified energy analyst using diagnostic tools that identify every energy saving opportunity in the home. All collected data is modeled to report on low-hanging fruit opportunities as well the key areas that can substantially reduce energy costs.

Seasoned energy analysts also provide an in-depth education on how the home uses and loses energy in addition to how the homeowner can modify their behavior to complement energy efficiency upgrades. With this guidance, consumer behavior and informed use of a programmable thermostat can make a substantive impact on usage and expense.

In addition, the audit report lists measures, including retrofits and best practices, that home and business owners can pursue to reduce both energy waste and utility bills. ECA will also offer fee-for-service retrofits and upgrades to Energy Co-op members who request them following an audit. These may include air infiltration sealing, insulation improvement, furnace upgrades, and window and HVAC repair or replacement.

The Energy Co-op’s nonprofit cooperative model allows us to focus on meeting our members’ energy needs while at the same time benefiting our larger community, whether helping families and business owners address concerns about clean air, climate change, or hydraulic fracking as we have since 1999, or affordably heating their homes as we have since 1979.  Working with ECA to provide home energy audits is the latest example of that focus.