Merkel Inaugurates Energy-Efficient House

The US made significant energy efficiency inroads following the 1973 oil embargo, but fresh supplies of cheap energy hit markets in the mid-1980’s, bringing renewed complacency that caused lawmakers to backslide on efficiency measures.

Famed innovator and energy researcher Amory Lovins sets the stage for a new energy efficiency surge in his latest blog post:

“OPEC’s oil sword was shattered in a dozen years as customers saved oil faster than OPEC could conveniently sell less oil. Its sales plummeted 48 percent, breaking its pricing power for a decade. Then in 1985-86, as massive new energy supplies belatedly arrived to meet needs efficiency already had filled, energy gluts crashed prices. Policymakers, instead of finishing the job, hit the snooze button for a decade.”

He goes on to describe the considerable opportunities – both environmentally and financially – more efficient energy use offers:

“By 2050, the U.S. could triple its energy efficiency, switch supplies from one-tenth to three-fourths renewable, and run a 158-percent-bigger economy with no oil, coal or nuclear energy and one-third less natural gas. This could cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual, emit 82 to 86 percent less fossil carbon, need no new inventions nor acts of Congress and be led by business for profit…U.S. buildings’ energy use costs more than Medicare, but their energy efficiency opportunities offer $1.4 trillion net savings with a juicy 33 percent internal rate of return.”