By Logan Burke, AAE's Executive Director
This model has worked well in states like Vermont, Wisconsin, and others to remove the disincentive utilities have when it comes to saving you money. The Alliance has urged the Commission to add energy savings targets and finalize the rule this fall so that Louisiana can take full advantage of federal programs available through the Inflation Reduction Act. More importantly, Louisianans need these programs right away to help manage through the increasingly extreme winter and summer seasons.
In the meantime, the New Orleans City Council is also sitting on improvements to the energy efficiency program, Energy Smart, in Orleans Parish. New Orleans has had successful programs for over a decade now, and the next phase of demand side management will need to include more than lightbulbs and even insulation. We have encouraged the Council to finalize the new plans and to target programming to customers with low incomes and neighborhoods that are sweltering in heat islands during the summer.
During all this waiting for regulatory decisions, there is good news! Beginning in July, Louisiana’s recently updated conservation building codes will mean a 25% improvement in efficiency for newly built homes. Thanks to unanimous support at the legislature in 2021 and efforts by the Code Council and Task Force, the latest building codes in Louisiana will save residents millions of dollars by better preparing housing for the extremes the climate is dishing out.
Efficient housing can help us tackle so many intersecting challenges Louisianans face. From reducing bills, to improving health and comfort, to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, we must stop wasting time, money, and energy. 2023 could be the year we turn it around.