Energy productivity in the US could be doubled by 2030 and provide a substantial boost to job creation and the US economy given supporting government policies aimed at realizing gains in energy efficiency, according to a blue-ribbon panel of 20 energy experts and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) director Dan Arvizu.
“Doubling national energy productivity could create a million new jobs, while saving the average household $1,000 a year and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by one-third,” according to the blue-ribbon panel and NREL Director Arvisu. Members of the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy, the panel of experts unveiled their recommendations at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. February 7.
Revolutionizing How We Use Energy
“Serving on the Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy over the past year has been a unique and rewarding experience,” Arvizu was quoted in NREL’s press release. “The commission’s recommendations provide a bold yet attainable roadmap for revolutionizing our nation’s use of energy, and boosting our economy and improving our environment along the way.”
“Perhaps the most compelling evidence that energy efficiency measures can have dramatic effects in the future is the often-overlooked fact that they already have produced so many benefits for our nation,” Arvizu noted in his testimony.
A report by the ASE showed that the US would be using 50% more energy than is actually used today had advantage not been taken of all the energy efficiency opportunities developed and deployed over the past three decades.
“Unleashing investments in energy efficiency concepts and technologies throughout the economy, modernizing our energy infrastructure, reforming regulatory measures to promote efficiency, and educating consumers and business leaders on ways to reduce energy waste,” can pave the path forward and enable the US to double energy productivity by 2030, according to the ASE panel.
Energy Efficiency Gains for Buildings and Transportation
“Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have long understood that using energy more efficiently can be just as beneficial as finding new ways to produce energy more efficiently,” the national energy lab states in its press release.
NREL’s been at the center of numerous and varied efforts at the cutting-edge of realizing energy efficiency improvements across the nation, particularly when it comes to the two largest sectors of energy use in the nation: buildings and transportation.
Forty percent of US energy consumption is from buildings, “from hospitals to factories, restaurants to office complexes,” NREL notes. Citing just one example, NREL is working with architects and engineers around the country to identify ways of reducing energy intensity of large hospitals, schools, and retail buildings by 50%; efforts that include development of the software for the Advanced Energy Design Guidlines (AEDGs) that have become a reference standard for the green building sector.
NREL Director Arvisu has been on the road campaigning particularly hard of late to raise awareness of the scope and scale of benefits that could be realized by raising US energy efficiency. Last December, he testified before the US Senate Finance Committee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, a transcript of which is available on the NREL website.
Arvizu also gave a keynote address at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s International Renewable Energy Conference, during which Clean Technica’s site director had the opportunity to interview him.
In the interview, Arvizu zeroes in on the fact that our centralized, essentially fossil fuel-based system for generating and distributing electrical power is remarkably inefficient; ie. given the need to install capacity to meet peak demand, our power generating assets are only used about 44% of the time.
A transformation is needed, Arvizu said, emphasizing “the importance of creating citizen demand – a citizens’ movement” – to see it through to fruition. More aggressively deploying distributed renewable power generation capacity capable of better matching electricity supply and demand should figure prominently in any such plan, complemented by policies and actions on the part of both public and private sectors to enhance US energy efficiency and energy productivity.
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.