Potential for Energy Conservation Through Increased Efficiency of Use

Eric Hirst
John C. Moyers



Opportunities exist for significantly increasing the efficiency with which energy is used in the United States. This paper discusses such opportunities for (a) the transportation sector (shifts from energy-intensive modes to energy-efficient modes, increased use of existing equipment, and technological changes to increase vehicle energy efficiency) and (b) the household sector (additional building insulation, electric heat pumps rather than electric-resistance heating, energy-efficient air conditioners, and addition of insulation to water heaters). Such energy efficiency improvements may require institutional and social changes, but technologies are generally available to implement such strategies. The benefits to the nation in terms of energy conservation, reduced reliance on energy imports and improved balance of payments, reduced adverse environmental impacts, lower dollar costs, and a return to a more conservative resource-use ethic are potentially large. Policies to achieve such goals would involve some life-style changes and important institutional decisions, but they do not imply a return to "caves and candles."

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