From the White House to your house, energy efficiency is a hot topic for the energy industry, policymakers, and everyday consumers who want to pay less and use energy resources more wisely. What does energy efficiency look like in 2023, then, as everything from home thermostats to cars get more connected?
The recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed by the U.S. Congress reflects high-level priorities for clean energy investments – from infrastructure spending to taxpayer rebates for energy-conscious purchases. Heading into 2023, companies are looking for ways to make high-tech lifestyles more environmentally sustainable. Many new U.S. energy regulations from the IRA take effect this year, and as changes occur, the world is dealing with higher energy prices, supply chain issues, and grid reliability concerns.
Read more about the future of energy efficiency and how new standards will impact homes and energy production. See how innovation in renewable energy sources, electrification, and energy storage will make their mark in 2023 and beyond.
Residential Energy Efficiency
- Heating and cooling are a home’s top energy expense, and the government is looking for ways to reduce emissions of this common energy giant. New energy efficiency regulations include an improved Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) for new HVAC installations. The 8% to 10% improvement means about 70% of current equipment doesn’t meet guidelines. While the upfront cost is more, the new SEER2-rated HVAC means less energy consumption and ongoing cost savings for homeowners. See how regulations impact each region in the U.S.
- Electrification for everything from vehicles to water heaters to heat pumps is expected to grow substantially in 2023. Home electrification will become more accessible due to tax incentives, improved technology, and increased charging infrastructure. This includes high-speed electric vehicle charges at home, breaker box updates, and more. Rebates for U.S. homeowners and consumers range from hundreds of dollars for home upgrades to $7,500 for an electric car purchase. Electrification helps reduce emissions (with residences accounting for 42% of all carbon pollution) and reliance on fossil fuels. Read more on how 2023 will be a breakout year for home electrification.
- Improved efficiency standards for lightbulbs, furnaces, clothes dryers, and other home appliances will continue to impact production and installation in homes, creating less waste and climate-friendly cost savings down the road. For example, the Department of Energy’s new standards for furnaces would use 15% less energy than today’s high-use models.
Energy Production, Renewables, & Technology
From traditional reliance on gas and other fossil fuels, the energy industry is expected to amp up their investments in renewable energy infrastructure like solar and wind. The Inflation Reduction Act will help accelerate these changes across the energy sector. Beyond Main Street, new policies direct government agencies to meet low- and zero-carbon targets and performance standards for buildings and equipment.
“Renewably produced electricity is becoming ever more competitive. It is already, in many cases, both more cost efficient and environmentally sound for businesses to start adding renewables into their power mix – if they haven’t done so already,” reports Reuters, noting that natural gas, oil, and coal prices have risen even faster than the cost of solar and wind installations.
Look for these energy-efficiency standards and industry investments in 2023 and beyond:
- Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and water are projected to reduce emissions in the United States by up to 40% by 2030. Traditional power companies are already making investments in this area, including in Texas which generated 26% of the U.S. wind energy in 2021, and expansion plans continue.
- Energy storage technology will expand, as increased battery capacity can store unreliable, intermittent energy from wind or solar for later use, thus improving reliability from renewable resources. Further, more electric vehicles on the road will require improved battery storage and infrastructure to ensure reliability.
- Smart grid infrastructure will continue to grow, resulting in power grid improvements via sensors and automation to increase efficiency and reduce waste. Digital and advanced technologies aid in better management of power distribution and reduce outages from overload or equipment failures.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are currently underutilized in the energy sector, but investment in this area continues to grow. Energy AI can assist with energy demand predictions, equipment failures, and grid maintenance – which improves safety and reduces personnel costs for on-site maintenance.
- Cybersecurity will get a big boost as power grids become more automated and digitized. Power companies and governments will increase investment in firewalls, encryption technology, and more to safeguard the power infrastructure.
New energy standards mean investments at the federal level, private industry innovation, and energy-conscious efforts at home. The future of renewable energy, new technologies, and growing awareness will help pave the way in 2023 and the future of energy efficiency.