Energy efficiency and electrification are two aspects of how you can get the most out of renewable energy generation. By investing in energy efficiency measures, you can reduce your overall energy needs so that they can easily be met by a smaller renewable energy system. In addition, if you are investing in a renewable energy system that generates electricity, like solar PV, then it can be cost effective to ensure the bulk of your overall energy usage comes from electricity and can be met by your renewable energy system. For example, space heating and cooling accounts for the majority of energy use in many buildings. Transitioning that energy demand to run off of electricity, instead of propane or natural gas, allows a renewable energy system to provide that energy. Covering the majority of your energy use with electricity from your renewable energy system will ensure greater savings in energy costs over time.
When a renewable energy professional visits your home, school, or business, they will ask to see a year’s-worth of utility bills to determine how much energy and water you use and what size of renewable energy system will best meet your needs. The more efficient you are, the more effective your renewable energy system will be - and the less it will cost too! Use the resources below to find out more about how to improve the energy efficiency of buildings:
Upgrades and Renovations
- ENERGY STAR certified products exceed the minimum federal standards for efficiency and quality.
- WaterSense products, similar to EnergyStar, use water wisely and efficiently. This can reduce your overall energy use, especially on water pumping and heating.
- Energy Codes and Energy Efficiency - Montana Department of Environmental Quality
- Department of Environmental Quality's Montana Energy Saver's Guidebook (Residential)
- Energy Efficiency Information from Montana Green Power (Residential)
- Montana State University Extension E3A Home Energy Fact Sheets (Residential)
- Tips on Saving Money and Energy in Your Home (U.S. Department of Energy) (Residential)
There is a movement to design high-performance Net Zero Energy (NZE) buildings and communities that are so energy- and water-efficient that renewable energy systems can easily provide all or most of their energy on a yearly basis. New construction provides the most efficient and cost-effective opportunity to achieve NZE. If you are designing a new building, ask your architect and builder if they have participated in the integrated, whole systems-approach programs below that provide a process, training, and third-party certifications:
- Passive House Institute, U.S. (PHIUS)
- International Living Future Institute – Zero Energy Certification
- Zero Energy-Ready Homes Program (U.S. Department of Energy)
- American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Commercial)
- Better Buildings Initiative (U.S. Department of Energy) (Commercial)
- Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (Commercial)
- Net-Zero Energy Coalition (Residential)
- New Buildings Institute (Commercial, Institutional)
- Net-Zero Energy Process Guidelines and Case Studies – U.S. Department of Energy (Commercial)
- Zero Energy School Accelerator Program – U.S. Department of Energy (Institutional)
Our vision is a Montana where the widespread use of renewable energy drives Montana’s economy and powers every aspect of Montanans’ lives. To achieve this vision, it will be critical to electrify ‘end uses’ of energy that currently rely on propane, gasoline, or natural gas so they can be powered by electricity from renewable energy sources. Consider the many tools and appliances in your life that run on propane, natural gas, or gasoline. By electrifying each, we make it possible to power them with clean energy. Electric appliances, compared to their fossil fuel counterparts, often tend to be more energy efficient as well. Use the resources below to find out more about how to electrify your home, business, or transportation:
- Transition to Electric Vehicles – Solar Powered Transportation
- Electrify Space and Water Heating – Electrify Missoula
- Air-Source Heat Pumps – Energy Sage
- Electrify Cooking and Laundry – Electrify Missoula
- Funding and Financial Resources – Electrify Missoula
- Electrify Everything in Your Home – Rewiring America
- ELECTRIFY Calculator – Electrify Now
Visit our Financing and Incentives page to learn more about your options for energy efficiency upgrades.