Despite overall improvement in the overall state of energy efficiency in the US, the economy has made only moderate progress toward becoming more energy efficient, a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy finds.
ACEEE said that the US need to be far more aggressive in establishing programs and policies that can result in significant improvements in energy efficiency.
In the study, “Energy Efficiency: Is the United States Improving?” ACEEE tracked national progress on energy efficiency over the last year. ACEEE reviewed 15 indicators in total. It found that in five areas reviewed, the US is making progress, but in other areas, there has been only moderate gains, and even regression.
ACEEE said that there have been no measurable progress in the use of public transit or in reductions in the energy intensity of freight transport, and that the nation is backsliding in how much industrial electricity is generated by combined heat and power.
In reviewing state energy efficiency program savings, reductions in energy use in residential buildings, standards for fuel, building codes and standards for appliances, ACEEE said that in these areas the nation has made meaningful progress.
However, the improvements are generally small, and this suggests that the country is still wasting tremendous amounts of energy. This indicates that the US is not doing enough to achieve energy efficiency, ACEEE said.
For example, the good progress that has been achieved in state-level savings from energy efficiency programs during the 2010-2011 time period may not continue because of only minimal increases in state efficiency program budgets in 2012.
Comparatively, countries such as Japan, Germany and China are clearly seeing that energy efficiency is linked to economic prosperity, and they are more committed in their national policies and investments in energy efficiency. As a result, these nations are poised to produce goods and services at a lower cost, the report said.