The First Alternative Energy Sources Efficiency and Conservation

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In This Chapter

^ Affecting energy consumption with efficiency and price ^ Pushing through present-day macro-level efficiency efforts ^ Knowing what you can do to improve your own energy efficiency

7he U.S. can save up to 10 percent of the energy it uses by simply using energy more efficiently. Plus, another 10 percent can be saved by investing only 5 percent of the current U.S. energy budget in new technology and infrastructure.

The point? That even without resorting to alternative energy technologies (a whole bunch of which are explained in Parts III and IV), mankind can do much more to use current conventional resources more efficiently. Major increases in efficiency are coming down the technological pipeline all the time. Cars are growing more efficient, as well as appliances and lighting systems. Building codes are mandating higher efficiency heating and cooling systems. And perhaps most important of all, hybrid and electric auto technologies will radically improve the efficiency performance of the transport sector. Because of these advances, the first alternative energy source is using energy more efficiently and practicing conservation.

Most books on the subject don't take this approach, but in this chapter I explain how this could work. I describe how efficient technologies have affected our energy markets, how big players — utility companies, communities, and so on — are getting in on the efficiency act, and how each of us can make a difference. If enough people begin practicing efficiency and conservation, the U.S. could improve our situation drastically, without even investing in expensive and risky alternative energy propositions.

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