Study finds big potential energy savings in South

The South consists of 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Conservation efforts would do more than prevent the release of more carbon dioxide in the air. Energy efficiency could save consumers $41 billion by 2020 and create 380,000 jobs, the study says.

There is a $2.25 benefit for every $1 invested. The study was paid for by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance.

It may come up in the next several weeks as supporters try to advance a climate bill in the Senate. Democrats are pushing new renewable and energy efficiency standards to lower greenhouse gas emissions along with a cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Historically, members from the Southeast have resisted the mandates because they fear they would raise rates for consumers in their states.