Anyone who believes that energy-efficiency projects don't pay need look no further than New Jersey.
We've written on the "power" of energy efficiency many times - here , here and here, for instance - but the New Jersey case hits close to home because the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is involved in a similar project.
According to this item in NJ Spotlight, 494 local governments are participating in a program that uses federal money funneled through Energy Efficiency Conservation Block grants to improve heating and air conditioning systems, upgrading lights and other improvements.
The average savings has been about $18,000 annually on power bills without much or any monetary expenditures from the local governments. Federal grants and other incentives have paid for most of the efficiency work.
The Township of Millburn, for example, upgraded lighting and heating and air conditioning systems in a municipal building at a net cost, after incentives and grants, to the city of $1,027. The return: $63,000 annually off its power bill.
Even without the incentives, the city would have recouped its cost in less than a year. That is Math that makes sense, especially when local governments are laying off employees, slashing budgets and facing uncertain futures.
We hope for similar results in the San Joaquin Valley, where the SJVCEO is working with 39 cities and counties on energy-efficiency upgrades financed through federal stimulus and EECGB funds.
Energy-efficiency has been billed the "low-hanging fruit" of the green movement. Let's hope that 2011 is the year the movement takes off.
(Photo of Millburn, N.J. by city-data.com)