States Invest More in Energy Efficiency

By Rebecca Smith on October 22, 2009

States are backing big energy-efficiency programs, spurred by the belief that they could hold down heating and electricity bills, as well as cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

The programs, usually funded by surcharges on utility bills, help customers weatherize their homes and install new lighting systems, among other things. Total annual spending on the efficiency programs is expected to rise from $3.1 billion in 2008 to $7.5 billion to $12.4 billion by 2020, according to a study released this month by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Galen Barbose, a staff research associate at the national lab, said the spending increase has been so sharp "that there's an emerging shortage of trained professionals to design the programs, measure results and do the actual work of retrofitting buildings."

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