industry for 35 percent, and transportation for 12 percent.1 If all the potential energy savings the panel identified for residential and commercial buildings could be achieved, the effects on U.S. electricity generation needs could be dramatic.

Instead of increasing from 99 quadrillion Btu (99 quads) in 2008 (EIA, 2009a,b), to 111 quads in 2020, and then to 118 quads in 2030 (EIA, 2008a), U.S. energy use could, with full deployment of cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies, fall to 89–92 quads in 2020 and 82–88 quads in 2030.

The importance of the values in Table S.1, however, is not the specific numbers; rather, the point is that taking advantage of technologies that save money as well as energy to produce the same mix of goods and services could reduce U.S. energy use to 30 percent below the 2030 forecast level, and even significantly below 2008 energy use. The result would be lower costs and a more competitive economy that uses less fossil fuel, has lower emissions of greenhouse gases, and puts less pressure on environmental quality.


Overarching Finding 1

Energy-efficient technologies for residences and commercial buildings, transportation, and industry exist today, or are expected to be developed in the normal course of business, that could potentially save 30 percent of the energy used in the U.S. economy while also saving money. If energy prices are high enough to motivate investment in energy efficiency, or if public policies are put in place that have the same effect, U.S. energy use could be lower than business-as-usual projections by 19–22 quadrillion Btu (17–20 percent) in 2020 and by 30–36 quadrillion Btu (25–31 percent) in 2030.2,3


The transportation fraction would be higher if heavy-duty vehicles and aviation had been included in the panel’s analysis.


The basis for comparison for the buildings and industry sectors is the reference scenario of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Annual Energy Outlook 2008 (EIA, 2008a) and the panel’s similar but slightly modified baseline for the transportation sector.


The AEF Committee’s report (NAS-NAE-NRC, 2009) estimated the amount of possible savings as 15–17 quads (about 15 percent) by 2020 and 32–35 quads (about 30 percent) by 2030. Since the release of that report, further analysis by the panel refined the amount of possible savings in 2020 to 17–20 percent.

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