Energy efficiency is slowly gaining traction


I reported at the very beginning of this year that 2011 could be the year of energy efficiency. It seems to be the case as I have been witnessing an increasing interest for conservation and efficiency.

These are good news as efficiency is the panacea to our energy and climate problems as 73% of global energy use could be saved through energy efficiency improvements.”

As I browsed the selection of my September tweets, I found several articles on how efficiency is getting more and more popular.

First and foremost, to Grist :

” Two separate initiatives formed this week that could unlock more than $1.6 billion in private investment for energy efficiency projects around the U.S. Yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative, two of the largest U.S. pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTERS, announced that they would invest $1 billion toward energy efficiency projects. ”

(…) On Monday, the Carbon War Room announced it had arranged a business consortium that will invest up to $650 million in efficiency retrofits on commercial buildings in Miami, Fla., and Sacramento, Calif.

Grist also got back on the “historic embrace” of the US Army for energy efficiency and cleantech. I wrote on this very topic in August. I then reported that

” the United States Army will spend $7.1 billion (around five billion euros) on renewable energy sources during the next ten years. The goal is to have 25 percent of renewables in their energy mix by 2025. “

GE Ecomagination blogged on how retroffiting houses could be ” the future of employment “. As you can imagine, this very topic is very close to my heart since the writing of my Master’s thesis on that very topic, five years ago.

CleanTechnica offers some perspective on the jobs created in this specific sector as well as the savings in the US alone :

Energy efficiency saves us bucket-loads of cash, but it also creates jobs for our fellow Americans (and the money they make goes back into our economy).

(…) Since 1990, the energy service industry has provided $50 billion in energy savings, $25 billion in public infrastructure improvements and created roughly 330,000 jobs.

How much money America could save by embracing even more conservation ? Climate Progress gives us some hindsight :

If we retrofitted just 40% of the nation’s residential and commercial building stock, we would mobilize a massive amount of domestic labor, more than half a million (625,000) sustained full-time jobs over a decade.

(…) McKinsey and Co. finds that our nation wastes $130 billion annually on energy costs from inefficient buildings and appliances, which could cost effectively be saved using today’s existing technology. That’s money that is literally flying out the window or thru the cracks of leaky buildings.

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To conclude, I am delighted to see that finally America sees the importance of efficiency. While it is still far from being front and center of energy policies, I am glad it is finally gaining some traction.

I have previously noted that conservation is the best solution to fight climate change as it actually SAVES – a lot of – money while decreasing emissions while renewables or nuclear COST money.

I also noted at the time that the money saved by efficiency could finance such projects… In these dark financial and economic times, this would prove to be the best thing to do.

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