Just How Many Trillions of Dollars Can Energy Efficiency Save Us?

energy savings graph image

Image via McKinsey
Energy efficiency is always touted at the primary (and easiest) option for saving both money and the environment. Yet so many people are slow to latch on. Perhaps a new figure put out by the latest McKinsey Report will get people to make a mad dash towards energy efficiency. We Could Save $1.2 Trillion Over Next 10 Years
According to the latest figure put out by McKinsey, if we invested $520 billion over 10 years in energy efficiency measures from weatherizing homes to better power systems, we'll see a savings of $1.2 trillion by 2020 - a return of $680 billion. Plus, that other great side effect of making big strides towards saving the planet. Just how big a stride? Well...

The reduction in energy use would also result in the abatement of 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually – the equivalent of taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.

We Already Have Tools We Need for Energy Efficiency
Best of all, we don't need to sit around waiting for new technology. The report shows that we can use existing tech and practices to make the changes necessary for such big savings.

As reported on CNET, "If we do nothing, we will waste $1.2 trillion of energy," McKinsey partner Ken Ostrowski said in a press conference on Wednesday. "Over a decade, (the up-front investment) would be $50 billion a year, which is about five times what we invest today. That investment pays back--it's one of the few that generate environmental benefits and economic cost returns."

Big Energy Savings In Homes, Businesses and Industrial Sectors
Could the importance of energy efficiency be hammered home more clearly than that? Homes and businesses could save 28% of their current spending, and the industrial sector could save 20% by doing just the basics that we already know about. For instance, standby power is 6-8% of the total energy consumption - and we already have technology to cut back on these issues.

Getting Everyone On Board for Energy Efficiency
The report outlines five opportunities that will help us overcome some of the barriers and realize savings, including showing everyone that energy efficiency is honestly as big a deal as TreeHuggers make it out to be, get everyone over the hump of not wanting to spend money upfront to make changes that will help them realize future savings, and better align everyone involved in energy from utilities to government agencies to manufacturers to consumers.

More on Energy Savings
Energy Efficiency Improvements Could Save UK Businesses £2.5 Billion per Year
Quantifying Energy Efficiency's Potential In Developed And Developing Countries
$168 Billion Could be Saved by Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard

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