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Posts Tagged ‘energy efficiency’

There are a lot of myths out there about energy efficiency. For instance, it is a myth that turning your computer off-and-on takes more energy than just leaving it on or in “sleep” mode; and the Patrick administration just announced it is taking advantage of this ridiculously easy way for the state to save some serious cash.

Boston (WBZ) – The Patrick Administration says it can save $2 million and 12 million kilowatts a year just by turning off computers at executive branch agencies. The administration on Friday announced a new policy of shutting down the computers or switching them to energy saving “sleep mode” when they aren’t being used. Aside from the energy and cost savings, the administration estimates the policy will reduce 5,051 tons of carbon emissions — roughly equivalent to driving 925 cars for a year or providing electricity to 669 homes for one year.

So how about a few other myths along these same lines:

  • Myth #1 – Turning off lights uses more energy. Turning off lights, even for short periods of time, really saves energy, with little impact on the lifespan of the bulb.
  • Myth #2 – Turning off car uses more energy. Idling a modern car always wastes more energy than turning it off and then on again (even for short periods of time).
  • Myth #3 – Turning down thermostat uses more energy. It is good to turn down the thermostat while you’re away from the house for the day. If you are out for a good stretch of time (say 8 hours or so), this temperature “set-back” will save more energy than it will take to bring your home back to the desired temperature.

More efficiency mythbusters from ACEEE here

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…crude oil $125 per barrel, climate change, energy independence, insufficient electricity infrastructure, volatile prices, and the list goes on…

Energy efficiency is probably the most successful but least appreciated strategy for dealing with the significant energy challenges we face in blazing our country’s path to prosperity during the 21st century.

For example, U.S. energy consumption at the end of 2008 is expected to total half of the energy consumed in 1970 thanks to investments in energy efficiency according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. And, there remains a huge amount of opportunity for additional, profitable investments (a recent McKinsey study estimated the existing energy efficiency market is about $170 billion per year to the tune of a 17% annual rate of return). Here is a summary of the ACEEE report:

Washington, D.C. – It’s the U.S. energy boom that no one knows about. Energy efficiency may be the farthest-reaching, least-polluting, and fastest-growing energy success story of the last 50 years. But it also is the most invisible, the least understood, and in serious danger of missing out on needed future investments. The ACEEE report, The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture, concludes that “…our nation is not aware of the role that energy efficiency has played in satisfying our growing energy-service demands…the contributions of efficiency often go unrecognized. The contributions of energy efficiency often remain invisible…” The report also notes that although efficiency is a proven resource, it remains underdeveloped. “In short, the evidence suggests that efficiency can make an even larger contribution towards stabilizing energy prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions – should we choose to fully develop it.”

Key report findings include:

  • The U.S. stands to gain enormously from additional investments in energy efficiency, and could reasonably reduce consumption by as much as 30 percent during the next two decades.
  • Future efforts would bear additional fruit through the creation of green collar jobs. Annual investments in energy efficiency technologies currently support 1.6 million U.S. jobs. The $300 billion invested in energy efficiency in 2004 was three times the amount invested in traditional energy infrastructure.
  • Investments in energy efficiency technologies are estimated to have generated approximately 1.7 quads of energy savings in 2004 alone – roughly the equivalent of the energy required to operate 40 mid-sized coal-fired or nuclear power plants.
  • Since 1970, energy efficiency has met about three-fourths of the demand for new energy-related services while conventional energy supply has covered only one-fourth of this demand.
  • Nearly 60 percent of energy efficiency investments made in 2004 were from the buildings sector, with nearly half coming from appliances and electronics.

Now the key is to pick up all this free money lying on the ground. There are a ton of energy efficiency resources on the internet for homeowners – here are just a few:

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