America is thinking too small when it comes to energy efficiency, while also making the mistake of “crowding out” economically beneficial investments in energy efficiency by focusing on riskier and more expensive bids to develop new energy sources, according to a major new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential: What the Evidence Suggests says that shifting investment focus from new energy sources to energy efficiency could cut energy consumption by the year 2050 almost 60 percent, add nearly 2 million net jobs in 2050, and save energy consumers as much as $400 billion per year.
Particularly large efficiency improvements could be made in the industrial sector and buildings, according to the report.
American industry could cut its cut energy consumption by the year 2050 by almost half largely by focusing on optimizing manufacturing systems. Building shell improvements could reduce heating and cooling needs by up to 60 percent in existing buildings, and 70-90 percent in new buildings by 2050, the report says.
Other areas ripe for an efficiency upgrade by 2050 include transportation and power generation, the report says.
An ACEEE report out earlier this month revealed that there has been a rapid growth in the number and budgets of natural gas energy efficiency programs for U.S. homes.
A National Review of Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Programs says that nationwide the budgets for these programs reached $942 million in 2010, up from $125 million in 2005.