In the Toolkit --


  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Leagues in Action
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Climate Action
  • Price on Carbon
  • Our Children's Trust
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources


    Energy efficiency is a critical piece of the solution to the challenges of energy security, rising energy prices, and environmental concerns. And unlike programs that aim to reduce energy consumption by motivating people to change ingrained daily habits, efficiency measures make use of improved technologies and processes to change energy usage patterns and deliver savings without continued attention or effort. 

    Because of the high level of their energy consumption and emissions, buildings are a vital target for implementing efficiency measures. Public, private, national, and international entities have documented and quantified the impressive energy and cost savings that can be achieved by improving energy efficiency in buildings.

    These and other studies identify significant barriers to improving energy efficiency in buildings that will have to be overcome to realize the projected savings. Local and state Leagues can play an important role in addressing these barriers and supporting strategies that will unlock the full potential of energy efficiency.

    A Note About Site vs. Source Energy

    When looking at the energy performance of buildings, it is important to distinguish betwen site or end-use energy and source energy. Site energy is the amount of energy used at the building itself -- the kWh of electricity, therms of gas, and/or gallons of fuel oil consumed. These can be converted to a single measure, Btus (British thermal units), to quantify the total amount of energy consumed on site. Although site energy is easy for building owners and operators to measure and understand, it does not give the full picture.

    Source energy includes both the energy consumed at the building and the energy used in the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy. Source energy is further sub-divided into primary energy (the raw material consumed to create the power, e.g., coal or natural gas) and secondary energy (the power that enters the distribution stream, e.g., electricity or steam). For energy that is purchased from the electrical grid, it takes an average of 3.3 units of energy for a power plant to produce and deliver one unit of electricity — a site-to-source ratio of 3.3. Natural gas, on the other hand, has a site-to-source ratio of roughly 1.1, meaning that almost all the energy used to generate the power is distributed to the end user.

    For additional explanation, see Site vs. Source Energy from Archtoolbox.

    Last updated: 3/29/2020

    Previous <  > Next