It has long been known that energy conservation efforts save companies money every year. Not only does energy efficiency save building owners and tenants money, it also strengthens the overall economy, according to a new report published by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC).
The report, which looks at energy efficiency from a macroeconomic perspective, found that improving the efficiency of buildings pumps an extra $216 million a year into Washington state's economy and creates just over 3,800 jobs. As energy conservation saves landlords and tenants money on power, they put that money back into the economy in other ways, according to NEEC Executive Director Stan Price. "Tom Douglas (a Seattle chef) can sell more crab cakes and Alaska Airlines can sell more airline tickets," Price explains, "because the economy is bigger and there are more dollars in people's pockets."
While energy efficiency studies typically focus on the effects power conservation can have on a single business, NEEC's report marks the first time anyone has looked at the results of energy efficiency in Washington at a macroeconomic scale.
The NEEC commissioned economic consulting firm ECONorthwest to conduct the study, which looks at data over five years, starting in 2008. The firm found that, on average, almost $500 million is invested in goods and services to make buildings more efficient, and that $594.4 million of the state's gross regional product and around 7,575 jobs can be linked to energy efficiency investments. If the $500 million had been spent elsewhere, the report concludes, 3,800 jobs and $216 million of Washington's gross regional product would have been lost.
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