7 Amazing Facts About Energy Efficiency

Light up your world with an energy-efficient light bulb. (Photo: Michael Smith [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

In preparation for the Sustainable Energy Coalition's big renewable & energy efficiency expo in D.C., they released some great factoids about the fast-growing energy efficiency market sector.

7 amazing facts about energy efficiency:

. . . . that by the end of 2008 energy efficiency investments had slashed United States energy consumption (as measured per dollar of economic output) to half of what it was in 1970, from 18,000 Btus to about 8,900 Btus; in one year alone such investments are estimated to have generated approximately 1.7 quads of energy savings.

. . . . that U.S. energy consumption could be cut by 11% by 2020 through simple building efficiency measures such as more efficient lighting, water heating, and appliances; government analyses have found that achieving 50% energy savings is possible for medium-sized retail buildings, which account for 18% of U.S. energy use.

. . . . that sales of Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) nearly doubled last year; in 2007, 290 million CFLs (which use approximately 75% less energy) were sold and now account for more than 20% of the U.S. light bulb market; furthermore, LEDs now coming into the market use five times less power than CFLs.

. . . . that energy efficiency improvements in the U.S. electric power sector could reduce the need for new electric generation by an additional 7 to 11 percent more than currently projected over the next two decades if key market, regulatory, and consumer barriers can be addressed; already the ratio of advanced meters to all installed meters has reached 4.7% - a significant jump from the less than 1% in 2006.

. . . . that Americans are now using public transit at record levels but if they used it at the same rate as Europeans – for roughly 10% of their daily travel needs – the U.S. could reduce its dependence on imported oil by more than 40%, nearly equal to the 550 million barrels of crude oil imported from Saudi Arabia each year.

. . . . that registrations of new hybrid vehicles rose 38% to 350,289 in 2007 and should double to 5.3% of car sales by 2012; if the U.S. switched to hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles, it could halve its gasoline use by 2035.

. . . . that fuel cell and hydrogen technologies continue to make inroads in the transportation and building sectors; global sales of fuel cells rose 10% last year while nine million tons of hydrogen are now being consumed annually in the U.S.; General Motors plans to have 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road in California by 2014.