Published on July 5th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill0
Is The United States Becoming More Energy Efficient?
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) have released a White Paper entitled “Energy Efficiency: Is the United States Improving?” in which they begin what they hope to be “an annual effort to examine and characterise the overall state of energy efficiency in the United States and determine whether it has improved, declined, or stayed the same since the previous year.” Accordingly, the ACEEE has developed a list of 15 indicators they believe create a snapshot of energy efficiency across the US.
“Energy efficiency is a key to economic prosperity and global competitiveness,” write the authors of the White Paper, Sara Hayes, Naomi Baum, and Garret Herndon. “The most energy-efficient economies are able to reduce their energy waste and maximise their output, thereby reducing costs and streamlining systems. If the United States hopes to maintain its status as a world leader, energy efficiency must play a vital role in maintaining our economic prosperity.”
However, the underlying discovery made by the authors is that while the United States has made some progress, it has been relatively moderate progress.
Five of the fifteen indicators classified by ACEEE as being representative of energy-efficiency growth in which the US has showed meaningful progress include: state energy efficiency program savings; reductions in energy use in residential buildings; standards for fuel economy; building codes; and standards for appliances. There have been improvements in energy productivity and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but these may reflect other factors instead of solely increases in energy-efficiency. Seven of the remaining eight indicators showed only small or no improvements at all, while one showed backsliding.
A summary of all fifteen indicators was provided in the White Paper and is shown below, along with the “Overall Status of US Energy Efficiency Indicators”.
The full White Paper with thorough explanations of each of the fifteen indicators, along with a description and result of each, can be seen here (PDF).