With more than 150 million Americans living in areas that do not meet current national ambient air quality standards, and the possibility of even more stringent future standards, state air quality agencies cannot afford to overlook the emissions avoided by energy efficiency programs. RAP’s new paper, Quantifying the Air Quality Impacts of Energy Efficiency Policies and Programs, provides an introduction to the rationale and opportunities for using energy efficiency as an air quality improvement strategy.

“Energy efficiency is the only available tool to reduce multiple air pollutants at no cost to society. State air quality regulators need to start planning now so that they can use efficiency to meet upcoming air quality standards,” said John Shenot, RAP associate. “While no regulator should expect to solve all air quality challenges through one strategy alone, efficiency has distinct advantages over other pollution control methods,” he added.

Energy efficiency addresses multiple air pollutants simultaneously, and many states already have efficiency programs in place. Energy efficiency is also an investment in the power sector, which lowers the total system-wide cost of serving all customers’ energy needs. By contrast, traditional pollution controls are an expense to the system, which drives up the cost of supplying customers.

Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency is prepared to recognize these benefits in state implementation plans, few states have experience with documenting the air quality impact of their efficiency programs. RAP’s paper identifies useful data sources and outlines four basic steps state air regulators can follow to quantify the air quality impacts of energy efficiency policies and programs.

Join the Sources of Energy Efficiency Program Savings for Air Regulators webinar on Wednesday, September 11 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT to learn more. Author John Shenot will highlight the opportunity to use efficiency as an air quality strategy and provide an overview of the steps to quantify the emissions reductions those policies achieve.