What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Friday, 6 February 2009

The US can reduce energy use by 30% through efficiency alone.

"Rocky Mountain Institute's Energy and Resources Team has just published a report that shows the opportunity for 30 percent energy savings in the United States. Assessing the Electric Productivity Gap and the U.S. Efficiency Opportunity analyzed electric productivity state by state, and found a significant gap between the highest and lowest performing states.

Electric productivity measures how much gross domestic product is generated for each kilowatt-hour consumed ($GDP/kWh). This finding is significant because if laggard states achieved the electric productivity of the top ten performing states through energy efficiency, we would achieve electric savings equivalent to more than 60 percent of U.S. coal-fired generation. According to Natalie Mims, Consultant on RMI's Energy & Resources Team (ERT), "closing the electric productivity gap through energy efficiency is the largest near-term opportunity to immediately reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases, and move the United States forward as a leader in the new clean energy economy."

The electric productivity of top performing states, like New York, Connecticut, and California, serves as an example of what's achievable. Those states show the nation how barriers to efficiency practices can be overcome, how state utilities can be regulated, and how new and effective technologies can be implemented. Conversely, lower performing states have a huge opportunity to learn from the successes of higher performing states by closing their electric productivity gap using known and tested technology and policy. This will be the focus of RMI's next step, as ERT concentrates on the efficiency measures that can cost-effectively have the largest impact." - - RMI e alert Newsletter 05/02/09

RMI has been on the forefront of research and policy recommendations regarding efficiency for as long as I can remember. Their latest report is startling. Check out the interactive map to see how your state is doing.


diana smith said...

I would be interested to know what has been found to be effective in making these efficiency savings.

I think one of the biggest probalems we face is overcoming inertia. Everyone knows they should insulate their lofts, there are grants to help, but the thought of spending a week of so sorting the loft out first is still a massive barrier to action.

In Stafford England, we have been trying to put together a community project to get groups of neighbours working together to insulate their street.

Not there yet, but it would be good if it works!

C Robb said...

Thanks for the comment Diana,
This report is the first in a series and looks at the productivity ratio's between states, essentially how much productivity do they achieve per kilowatt hour of electricity. They do include a state's emphasis on efficiency through policy and support programs and plainly state that we need to drastically improve efficiency in a very short period of time. How that is achieved from state to state is not covered. My personal belief is that individual and community efforts are essential not only to increase your own "carbon karma" but to set an example as well. If governments don't see us as being committed they are less likely to be. However, the biggest gains are likely to come from improvements in efficiency at the power plants and in transmission. Both those issues can be personally circumvented by going off grid for as much of your electricity as you can afford to generate. Build your own small scale PV/battery setup to power your computer, your lights or your fridge. Build a bigger one to power all 3. Amaze your friends, it's fun, it's exciting and will boost your green cred immeasurably.