These charts may make you think differently about efficiency
by Stephen Lacey, Green Tech Media, October 7, 2013
1. Energy efficiency has accounted for two-thirds of economic services since 1970.
According to a recent report from energy economist Skip Laitner, while demand for energy services has increased three-fold since the 1970, energy consumption has only grown 40%, and the energy intensity of the economy has fallen by half. That means efficiency has been responsible for roughly two-thirds of our economic services over the last four decades.
2. Efficiency in new buildings is canceling out the need for more power plants.
3. Energy efficiency may have accounted for 75% of U.S. CO2 reductions in 2012.
4. Half of efficiency opportunities in commercial buildings are low- or no-touch.
5. America may have reached peak car in 2005.
6. Homeowners are starting to ditch their incandescent light bulbs.
7. Demand response reaches new highs for customer participation.
8. Rates of converting energy into useful work are stagnating.
Following up on his analysis showing efficiency has been a more important economic driver than energy production, economist Skip Laitner looked at another important concept going forward: exergy.
9. The U.S. economy is still only 39% efficient.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory released a sobering chart over the summer that shows America "rejected" 61% of energy produced in 2012, mostly through waste heat. And because this doesn't account for the transfer into useful work, the LLNL figures are actually rosier than Laitner's referenced above.