According to the New York Times, energy and environmental experts agree that the most direct route to lowering air pollution and carbon emissions is through efficiency. With the international focus on global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, industry and government has dedicated most of their attention to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. But experts say the same environmental targets can be achieved if commercial and industrial companies made adjustments in their operations so they ran more efficiently.

Duke Energy CEO James E. Rogers agrees and is seeking permission from regulators to make ratepayers' homes more efficient by purchasing energy efficient appliances for them. Rather than seek reimbursement, Duke would charge a monthly surcharge fee on bills over a period as a return on its investment.