Clean Power Plan can save low income individuals money

earthAmericans across the country are feeling the heat of climate change. In low-income communities, risks associated with exposure to extreme heat and air pollution are high. African American youth are four times as likely to die from asthma and are 350 percent more likely to make hospital visits for asthma-related issues than white children. It’s no surprise that the majority of Americans support climate action like the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

Along with reducing air pollution, the Clean Power Plan can save low income individuals money. The energy efficiency measures that can be used to meet the plan’s reduction goals can also reduce families’ energy bills. Even simple energy efficiency techniques, such as changing to efficient lighting and caulking air leaks, can make a noticeable impact on bills. The Clean Power Plan can help create affordable programs that help low income individuals take advantage of long-term energy efficiency energy savings.

These programs have excellent track records. Richmond Region Energy Alliance, a local

nonprofit, offers a one-stop-shop for home energy improvements. Since opening its doors in 2012, RREA has facilitated over 650 home energy audits and 420 residential solar energy assessments, advising clients on the most cost-effective energy upgrades they should undertake. RREA serves as an information hub for local utility, federal government, and privately funded rebates and programs for home energy improvements. Richmond area residents of all income levels benefit from the energy education, objective recommendations, and connection to resources that RREA provides. Energy efficiency improvements save people money and increase home comfort while reducing demand on power plants. Few efforts have the same personal benefit to families, while simultaneously improving the environment.

With the recent anniversary of the release of the Clean Power Plan, we need to celebrate the scope of its impact potential.

Column by Susan Hill, Executive Director, Richmond Region Energy Alliance, and Jessica Greene, Climate Organizer, Virginia Conservation Network.

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