AUGUSTA – A state program that encourages energy efficiencies such as better light fixtures saved Mainers the equivalent of the annual electricity needs of nearly 11,000 homes last year, the Public Utilities Commission said.
The Efficiency Maine program reduced electricity use by more than 74 million kilowatt hours in 2006, helping to avert the production of more than 320,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a major pollutant contributing to global warming, the report said.
The program’s effect on reducing carbon pollution was the equivalent of taking 7,624 cars off the road or serving the electrical needs of 11,000 homes, the PUC said.
“Not only has Efficiency Maine helped safeguard Maine’s environment, but the program has helped thousands of Maine businesses, schools, towns and families save millions of dollars in electricity costs,” PUC Chairman Kurt Adams said.
The program works with businesses, schools, municipalities and tradespeople to help them make energy-efficient choices, such as upgrades to more efficient light fixtures and installation of more efficient refrigerators.
The report, which was presented last week to the Legislature, includes some energy-saving examples.
It says lighting upgrades at B&M Baked Beans last year saved the Portland company $135,590.
Replacement of 2,500 out-of-date refrigerators in Maine low-income housing saved more than $2.7 million, the report says. Mainers saved a total of $23 million as a result of a 500 percent increase in the purchase of compact fluorescent lights and other efficient light products, it says.
It also reports that in the past three years, Efficiency Maine has saved homeowners, schools, and businesses more than 121 million kilowatt hours, with a lifetime economic benefit to the state of $86.6 million.