L.A. Area Chamber Casts Energy Efficiency in Starring Role

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce may have just celebrated its 127th inaugural dinner, but it is also putting a spotlight on what the future of economic development looks like in the second most populated city in the nation. In recent months, the chamber has partnered with a movie studio, major utility, and a leading university to help the City of Angels seize the benefits of energy efficiency.

Recognizing energy efficiency as an economic development opportunity that creates jobs and saves consumers money, the chamber threw its support behind the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in 2014 as the utility announced the most ambitious energy efficiency goal by a major municipal utility nationwide. The plan is to reduce energy demand by 15 percent by the year 2020, exceeding a 10 percent goal set by the state.

The chamber also supported a 2014 University of California Los Angeles report, “Efficiently Energizing Job Creation in Los Angeles,” which documents just how significant the job-growth benefits of energy efficiency are.

Based on an analysis of 18 energy efficiency programs administered by the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the report concluded: “Compared to other energy sector investments such as solar, natural gas, and smart grid infrastructure, energy efficiency produces the largest number of job-years per public dollar invested.”

In collaboration with AT&T and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, the chamber hosted a sustainability leadership event that presented member businesses in this extreme drought state with tools and resources to help them save on water and energy.

And in true Hollywood style, the Better Building Challenge hosted an awards ceremony recognizing CBS Studios, Kaiser Permanente, and other businesses for energy innovation.

“Our members are using energy efficiency to inform their business plans and save money,” said Director of Public Policy, Frank Lopez. “In fact, our members appreciate our efficiency programs so much that they have asked for more.”

This year, the L.A. Area Chamber plans to expand its energy efficiency efforts by working with its water agency members to incorporate water efficiency offerings into its programming. Adds Lopez: “It’s a win-win for local economic development and the environment.”