What Is ‘Affordable Energy’?

Feature Image

The way we use energy matters. The more efficiently our homes are built and updated, the less energy we use and the more affordable our utility bills. According to the United Nations, the goal of energy programs is affordability, reliability, and sustainability across all sectors of the economy.

The Global Impact of Energy Use

Energy efficiency decreases the use of fossil fuels and decreases carbon emissions. Burned fossil fuels, like what is used to produce energy, emit greenhouse gases, which negatively impact the environment. National Geographic tells us that greenhouse gases are changing our weather and climate. These effects are also causing shifts in wildlife and sea levels that put our environment at risk.

The amount of energy we use makes a difference on a global level, which is why the changes we make at the community level are so important. When we prioritize energy efficiency practices in our own homes and focus on using clean energy technology whenever possible, we can create a more affordable energy system and preserve our natural environment.

High Energy Burdens vs. Affordable Energy In Households

Households with high energy burdens often struggle to afford the expense of a drafty home and old appliances. Cost-effective updates can cost a lot and are not always an option. Programs like ours that provide upgrades to homes not only assist households with more affordable energy and lower monthly utility bills, they reduce carbon emissions.

Let’s take a look at how high energy burdens and affordable energy make an impact.

High Energy Burdens:

  • According to ACEEE, “High energy burdens are correlated with greater risk for respiratory diseases, increased stress and economic hardship, and difficulty in moving out of poverty.”
  • U.S. Department of Energy says, “Nationally, low-income households spend a larger portion of their income on home energy costs (e.e.g. Electricity, natural gas, and heating) than other households spend.
  • ACEEE reports that “Median income for low-income households in Memphis is around $19,000, and we found that they can spend upwards of $2,500 to $4,700 a year on their utilities.”
  • Individuals and families are faced with the decision to choose between paying for utility bills vs. important necessities.

Affordable Energy:

  • Affordability includes the weatherization of homes, including insulation, new windows, repairing drafts, and efficient appliance upgrades.
  • NRDC says, “Efficiency upgrades can help preserve affordable housing by reducing operating expenses for landlords and lessen rental turnover while increasing property values.”
  • The EPA recognizes renewable energy with economic benefits, such as jobs in manufacturing and installation.
  • Lower utility bills create a more comfortable living environment and allow households to have more financial flexibility and support.

Affordable energy makes a huge impact on our communities.

ERC’s mission is “to improve home energy efficiency, conserve energy, promote health, increase comfort, and expand Coloradans’ quality of life.”


Our Loveland office has moved! If you are in the Weld, Boulder, Larimer country service area please contact our Sterling office at 970-463-7020 or email lovelandinfo@erc-co.org