The most inexpensive and unobtrusive means of incorporating environmental efforts into an energy management strategy is energy efficiency – reducing the quantity of energy required to deliver the same unit of value. A unit of value might be one degree of temperature reduction in a warm building, one ton of concrete or one mile driven in a mid-sized sedan.
Relatively simple – and very often high return – energy efficiency and energy management efforts can go a long way toward lowering consumption and reducing energy costs, while achieving sustainability goals and, in some cases, achieving critical compliance objectives.
A recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently stated that the U.S. “is thinking too small when it comes to energy efficiency.” The report suggests that with a stronger emphasis on the more efficient use of energy resources, the nation could cut energy consumption by almost 60 percent, add nearly two million net jobs by 2050 and save consumers an estimated $400 billion per year.
The report argues that in order to earn major economic gains from energy efficiency, a “more productive investment pattern of increased investments in energy efficiency” is needed, which “would allow lower investments in power plants and other supply infrastructure, thereby substantially lowering overall energy expenditures on an economy-wide basis in the residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, and electric power sectors.”
These findings caused me to recall a panel discussion held at Constellation’s Executive Energy Forum this past November on the topics of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Frank Sesno, award-winning journalist, former CNN anchor and Washington Bureau Chief, and Director of the School of Media & Public Affairs at George Washington University, moderated a discussion with Andy Karsner, CEO of Manifest Energy Group, and Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, about how enterprise businesses can take advantage of energy efficient technologies and financing options.
At that time, the panel discussed how we might need a “bigger, more thoughtful role from the government” when it comes to developing and funding tomorrow’s technologies and taking today’s technologies and scaling them to commercial use. The panelists also discussed the role of venture capitalists in funding energy efficient and renewable energy initiatives.
I look forward to hearing more about this topic as time goes on. To view the ACEEE’s report, go here: http://aceee.org/press/2012/01/aceee-report-us-better-thinking-big-