Founded in 1984 by a bipartisan group of members of Congress to inform the debate and decision-making on energy and environmental policies, Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable societies. Our primary goal is to accelerate the transition to a new, low-emissions economy based on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

To achieve our goals, EESI advances innovative policy solutions that set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI's strength lies in translating complicated subjects into compelling stories, case studies, and user-friendly materials for policymakers and the public. EESI serves as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environment solutions—both inside and outside the Beltway.

Overview of EESI's work featuring our Executive Director, Carol Werner
(with thanks to the Giving Library for production) 

EESI grew out of a bipartisan and bicameral Congressional caucus formed in 1975 by then-Congressmen Dick Ottinger (D-NY), John Heinz (R-PA), John Seiberling (D-Ohio), and Gilbert Gude (R-MD). These forward-thinking Congressional representatives from both parties identified a need for policymakers to have more access to fact-based information on energy and environmental issues. In 1984, EESI was created to meet that need (learn more about EESI's history here). EESI continues to maintain its strong relationships with Congress and federal agencies

In 1988, EESI declared that it is a moral imperative to address climate change and that all of EESI's work should be looked at through a climate lens—a principle that continues to guide us today. EESI seeks to unite a range of constituencies behind win-win climate and clean energy solutions by emphasizing the multiple benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the substantial costs of inaction.

Today, EESI is governed by a diverse Board of Directors made up of environmental, business, academic, and former political leaders. EESI receives no Congressional funding, despite its origins as a bipartisan Congressional caucus.

EESI has been an educational resource for policymakers, an information conduit between federal, state, and local stakeholders, and a catalyst for partnerships and solutions for more than 30 years. EESI has earned a reputation for working constructively with a wide range of partners and constituencies.

 

Our Perspective

The climate crisis is urgent.

Climate change is one of the most serious problems facing civilization today ― impacting our infrastructure, water supply, agriculture, public health, natural ecosystems and more. Scientists and other experts say we must act today to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic changes to the world around us.

The solution is achievable.

Energy efficiency, renewable energy, changes in agriculture, forestry and land use management, and sustainable buildings, transportation and communities can rapidly and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These strategies can also stimulate numerous economic, national security, public health, and environmental benefits.

A healthy climate and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand.

Transforming energy infrastructures, transportation systems, land use management practices, and community designs will create new opportunities for American entrepreneurs and put America back to work.

Energy prices must reflect their true costs.

Fossil fuels are not as cheap as they seem when the environmental, health, security, and other costs paid by society are taken into account. If the federal government corrects this market failure and provides clear, long-term price signals that reflect true energy costs, consumers will quickly shift toward more energy efficient, renewable energy choices.

U.S. leadership is essential.

The United States, as the leading global greenhouse gas emitter over the past century, has a special responsibility to begin dramatic emissions reductions and to help the international community do the same.

 

Our Approach

EESI has a multi-pronged approach:

Policymaker and Stakeholder Education

Our highly-respected briefings on Capitol Hill, webcasts, policy papers, articles, and newsletters on the latest environmental science, technology, and policy developments reach thousands of people globally. Our materials are used by the media as resources for their news stories, and by educators to inform and inspire the next generation of climate leaders around the world.

Coalition Building

EESI facilitates communication among diverse stakeholders―including those with interests related to the environment, business, national security, public health and more―and their representatives in Washington, D.C. EESI staff members participate in numerous coalition-building meetings, conferences, and other events. EESI adds value to the policy debate as a convener, framer, and synthesizer of issues and ideas. Our nonpartisan political stance allows us to work with Congressional offices from both sides of the aisle, as well as think tanks, nonprofits, companies and trade associations with many different viewpoints.

Policy Development

EESI works with Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle, federal agencies, administration officials, and members of our diverse nationwide network to develop "win-win" policy solutions that accomplish multiple objectives such as reducing energy costs for consumers, strengthening national security and global competitiveness, cleaning up our air and water, improving public health, creating jobs, and fighting climate change.

Technical Assistance

EESI provides local technical assistance to utility-based energy efficiency programs, which helps drive federal policy while achieving progress on-the-ground. The desire to achieve win-win solutions led EESI to become involved in providing technical assistance to advance the adoption of on-bill financing in 2010. On-bill financing―a mechanism allowing customers to pay for home energy improvements over time via their electricity bills―expands access to cost-saving clean energy to households of any income level. We now assist local nonprofits, state and local governments, and rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities in eight states as they get on-bill financing programs up and running. Click here to learn how we can help families in your state or community.

These programs support both energy efficiency and community solar. We continue to expand the number of individuals, rural co-ops, and nonprofits that have the tools to implement this solution. In 2016, we began to offer electrification assessments to utilities to help stem the tide of decreasing electricity demand some of them were experiencing, while also driving energy demand to a cleaner electric grid. We continue to expand our reach through this work, which has a strong focus on the Midwest.

In our national policy work, too, EESI provides significant technical assistance by responding to policymaker requests, including requests for information, requests to review proposed legislation, requests related to confirmation processes, requests to have our expert staff speak at conferences or in private meetings, and so on.

 

Our Reach

EESI has a strong core audience in Congress and the national policy community, but our reach extends far beyond the Washington, D.C., policymaker community to stakeholders throughout the world. Our materials are used by the media as resources for their news stories, and by educators to inform and inspire the next generation of climate leaders around the world.

Examining our email subscribers alone, we have found that:

  • More than 60 percent of EESI's subscribers live outside Washington, D.C.
  • EESI has subscribers in all 50 states; hundreds of these subscribers serve in their state or local governments.
  • EESI has subscribers in more than 50 countries; most of these subscribers play key roles in foreign governments, clean energy businesses or nonprofits, or universities overseas.

 

Supporting Our Work

EESI's work would not be possible without the generous support of numerous individuals, foundations, and businesses. You can support our work by making a secure, online donation or by designating EESI through the workplace giving federation Earth Share or the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC#10627). Please click here for more information on donating to EESI. Or click here for other ways to get involved with our issues.

 

EESI-produced overview video