Doing More with Less (and Saving Billions)

By taking the path of large-scale investment in energy efficiency, the U.S. could add nearly two million net jobs by 2050 and save $400 billion annually (that’s the value of Apple, ten times the NFL, or more that the coffee and beef industries combined). These are the findings of a recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). According to the press release, the U.S. could proceed business-as-usual, or it could make bold investments in energy efficiency that will ultimately reduce energy use 60 percent.

ACEEE Director of Economic and Social Analysis John A. “Skip” Laitner said: “The U.S. would prosper more if investments in new energy were not crowding out needed investments in energy efficiency… [L]arge-scale energy efficiency advances are by far the smartest investment for America.”

If you live in a building with five or more units, you and your neighbors could save between 15 and 30 percent on utility bills. The report notes that utilities and building owners need to work together to develop effective energy efficiency policies.

“[T]he economy will benefit from a net energy bill savings that ranges from 12 to 16 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2012 through 2050. In other words, the energy efficiency scenarios outlined in our report will spur an annual net energy bill savings that might range up to about $2600 per household …” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. That savings is on the scale of the annual U.S. economy.

The major efficiency investments will come from all sectors of the economy. Targets of efficiency investments in the report’s analysis are in the electric power industry, transportation, buildings and the industrial sector. Investing in efficiency will produce less waste, optimize production, advance technologies and save money.

In a more targeted approach, ACEEE teamed up with CNT Energy to look at efficiency in apartment buildings in another report released last week. Energy efficiency upgrades could total in $3.4 billion in savings for building owners and residents (San Diego runs on abudget that’s less than that).”Maximizing energy efficiency is a win-win for apartment residents, building owners, energy utilities and our energy infrastructure,” said Doug Bibby, President of the National Multi Housing Council. “This report offers excellent ideas that we hope spur further cooperation between multifamily owners and utilities to create a more efficient partnership.”

If you live in a building with five or more units, you and your neighbors could save between 15 and 30 percent on utility bills. The report notes that utilities and building owners need to work together to develop effective energy efficiency policies.

Efficiency initiatives abound and can be both small and large in scope. ACEEE’s prolific work on the topic goes a long way in supporting their mission in advancing energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. These reports demonstrate that big investments in energy efficiency provide not only vast energy savings, but also an opportunity for saving consumers money and providing a vehicle for job creation.

For more on Energy Efficiency see NNEC’s primer on the topic here.

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