Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this project was provided by the Department of Energy under Grant Number DEFG02-07-ER-15923 and by BP America, Dow Chemical Company Foundation, Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, GE Energy, General Motors Corporation, Intel Corporation, and the W.M. Keck Foundation. Support was also provided by the Presidents’ Circle Communications Initiative of the National Academies and by the National Academy of Sciences through the following endowed funds created to perpetually support the work of the National Research Council: Thomas Lincoln Casey Fund, Arthur L. Day Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fund, George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science, and Frank Press Fund for Dissemination and Outreach. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations that provided support for the project.
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PANEL ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY TECHNOLOGIES
LESTER B. LAVE,
Carnegie Mellon University,
MAXINE L. SAVITZ,
Honeywell, Inc. (retired),
R. STEPHEN BERRY,
University of Chicago
MARILYN A. BROWN,
Georgia Institute of Technology
LINDA R. COHEN,
University of California, Irvine
MAGNUS G. CRAFORD,
Philips LumiLeds Lighting
PAUL A. DeCOTIS,
Long Island Power Authority
JAMES H. DeGRAFFENREIDT, JR.,
WGL Holdings, Inc.
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
DAVID B. GOLDSTEIN,
Natural Resources Defense Council
ALEXANDER MacLACHLAN, E.I.
du Pont de Nemours & Company (retired)
WILLIAM F. POWERS,
Ford Motor Company (retired)
ARTHUR H. ROSENFELD,
California Energy Commission
University of California, Davis
Liaison from the Committee on America’s Energy Future
JOHN B. HEYWOOD,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
America’s Energy Future Project Director
PETER D. BLAIR,
Executive Director, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
America’s Energy Future Project Manager
Director, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
MADELINE G. WOODRUFF, Senior Program Officer, Study Director
GREG EYRING, Senior Program Officer, Study Director
THOMAS R. MENZIES, Senior Program Officer
E. JONATHAN YANGER, Senior Program Assistant
KATHERINE BITTNER, Senior Program Assistant (until July 2008)
Energy, which has always played a critical role in our country’s national security, economic prosperity, and environmental quality, has over the last two years been pushed to the forefront of national attention as a result of several factors:
World demand for energy has increased steadily, especially in developing nations. China, for example, saw an extended period (prior to the current worldwide economic recession) of double-digit annual increases in economic growth and energy consumption.
About 56 percent of the U.S. demand for oil is now met by depending on imports supplied by foreign sources, up from 40 percent in 1990.
The long-term reliability of traditional sources of energy, especially oil, remains uncertain in the face of political instability and limitations on resources.
Concerns are mounting about global climate change—a result, in large measure, of the fossil-fuel combustion that currently provides most of the world’s energy.
The volatility of energy prices has been unprecedented, climbing in mid-2008 to record levels and then dropping precipitously—in only a matter of months—in late 2008.
Today, investments in the energy infrastructure and its needed technologies are modest, many alternative energy sources are receiving insufficient attention, and the nation’s energy supply and distribution systems are increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters and acts of terrorism.
All of these factors are affected to a great degree by the policies of government, both here and abroad, but even with the most enlightened policies the overall energy enterprise, like a massive ship, will be slow to change course. Its complex mix of scientific, technical, economic, social, and political elements means that the necessary transformational change in how we generate, supply, distribute, and use energy will be an immense undertaking, requiring decades to complete.
To stimulate and inform a constructive national dialogue about our energy future, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering initiated a major study in 2007, “America’s Energy Future: Technology Opportunities, Risks, and Tradeoffs.” The America’s Energy Future (AEF) project was initiated in anticipation of major legislative interest in energy policy in the U.S. Congress and, as the effort proceeded, it was endorsed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman and former Ranking Member Pete Domenici.
The AEF project evaluates current contributions and the likely future impacts, including estimated costs, of existing and new energy technologies. It was planned to serve as a foundation for subsequent policy studies, at the Academies and elsewhere, that will focus on energy research and development priorities, strategic energy technology development, and policy analysis.
The AEF project has produced a series of five reports, including this one on energy efficiency technologies, designed to inform key decisions as the nation begins a comprehensive examination of energy policy issues this year. Numerous studies conducted by diverse organizations have benefited the project, but many of those studies disagree about the potential of specific technologies, particularly those involving alternative sources of energy such as biomass, renewable resources for generation of electric power, advanced processes for generation from coal, and nuclear power. A key objective of the AEF series of reports is thus to help resolve conflicting analyses and to facilitate the charting of a new direction in the nation’s energy enterprise.
The AEF project, outlined in Appendix A, included a study committee and three panels that together have produced an extensive analysis of energy technology options for consideration in an ongoing national dialogue. A milestone in the project was the March 2008 “National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future” at which principals of related recent studies provided input to the AEF study committee and helped to inform the panels’ deliberations. A report chronicling the event, The National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future:
Summary of a Meeting (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press), was published in October 2008.
The AEF project was generously supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation, Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, Intel Corporation, Dow Chemical Company Foundation, General Motors Corporation, GE Energy, BP America, the U.S. Department of Energy, and our own Academies.
Ralph J. Cicerone, President
National Academy of Sciences
Chair, National Research Council
Charles M. Vest, President
National Academy of Engineering
Vice Chair, National Research Council
As part of the National Academies’ America’s Energy Future (AEF) project (see Appendix A), the Panel on Energy Efficiency Technologies (Appendix B) was appointed to assess the potential of technologies to save money as well as energy within the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors during three time periods: 2009–2020, 2020–2035, and beyond 2035. Box P.1 contains the charge to the panel.
The focus of the panel’s assessment was the potential of technology for improving energy efficiency, which the panel defined as accomplishing a given objective with less energy (see Appendix D for an extended technical definition). Conservation is generally understood to mean saving energy by changing behavior, such as by driving a smaller car or setting back the thermostat in winter. Given its task, the panel did not examine how much energy savings could be achieved by conservation. Instead, the panel identified energy savings that could be achieved through energy efficiency.
In fact, energy efficiency technologies have been available for decades, but unfortunately, few have been implemented. The panel identified myriad barriers to getting these technologies adopted. It noted that if society were to give a higher priority to efficiency, perhaps because of higher energy prices, energy shortages, or concern about greenhouse gas emissions, deployment would be faster and the savings would be greater.
As the panel discovered, energy efficiency occupies a unique place in the energy debate. Energy efficiency requires none of the environmental disruption seen in extracting coal, petroleum, natural gas, or uranium; depends on no wind turbines or hydroelectric dams or thermal power plants; emits no greenhouse
Statement of Task for the AEF Panel on Energy Efficiency Technologies
This panel will examine the potential for reducing energy demand through improving efficiency in transportation, buildings, and industrial processes using (1) existing technologies, (2) technologies developed but not yet used widely, and (3) prospective technologies. In keeping with the charge to the overall scope of the America’s Energy Future Study Committee, the panel will not recommend policy choices, but will assess the state of development of technologies. The energy efficiency panel will evaluate technologies based on their estimated times to readiness for deployment and will provide the following information for each:
The primary focus of the study will be on the quantitative characterization of technologies likely to be available for deployment within the next 10 years. The panel will provide details on the technical potential of improving efficient use of energy in the United States using existing technologies as well as consider the applicability of existing technologies in other nations. It will also assess the potential for improving energy efficiency by using technologies developed but not yet used widely in the United States or abroad, and by using prospective technologies with substantial likelihood of commercial use during the three deployment timescales described above.
gases or other pollutants; and can mitigate energy security risks associated with imported oil. The obvious benefits of energy efficiency technologies in making America’s energy supply more secure and environmentally sustainable, and the U.S. economy more competitive by reducing the prices of goods and services, deserve additional public attention.
The panel’s chair and vice chair thank the panel members and John Heywood for their hard work and insights—and apologize again to their family members for taking them away from other activities. The panel appreciates inputs provided in presentations by experts at its meetings (see Appendix C) and in writing (Anup Bandivadekar, International Council on Clean Transportation; Peter Biermayer, Sam Borgeson, Rich Brown, Jon Koomey, and Alan Meier, Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory; Lynette Cheah, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Steve Dunn, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project; Mark Frankel, New Buildings Institute; Mauricio Justiniano and Nancy Margolis, Energetics, Inc.; Mike Messenger, Itron, Inc.; and Christopher Weber, Carnegie Mellon University).
Madeline Woodruff, the study director, was indefatigable and cheerful throughout the writing of the report and responding to reviewer comments. Greg Eyring helped pull the report together at the end. Tom Menzies supplied valuable material, comments, and data. Jonathan Yanger provided staff assistance throughout the project. Peter Blair, Jim Zucchetto, and Kevin Crowley guided the panel through the Academies’ processes and coordinated its work with that of the other panels and the AEF Committee.
Lester B. Lave, Chair
Maxine L. Savitz, Vice Chair
Panel on Energy Efficiency Technologies
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Philip Anderson, Princeton University,
William Brinkman, Princeton University,
Andrew Brown, Jr., Delphi Corporation,
Clark Bullard, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Jonathan Creyts, McKinsey & Company, Inc.,
J. Michael Davis, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
John DeCicco, Environmental Defense Fund,
Theodore Geballe, Stanford University (professor emeritus),
Susan Hanson, Clark University,
Trevor Jones, ElectroSonics Medical, Inc.,
Mark Levine, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
Richard Morgenstern, Resources for the Future,
Peter H. Pfromm, Kansas State University,
Bernard I. Roberston, DaimlerChrysler (retired),
Marc Ross, University of Michigan (professor emeritus),
Jeffrey Siirola, Eastman Chemical Company,
Anne E. Smith, CRA International,
Robert Socolow, Princeton University,
Dale F. Stein, Michigan Technological University,
James E. Woods, Sain Engineering Associates, Inc., and
Ernst Worrell, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Ecofys.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Elisabeth M. Drake, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Robert A. Frosch, Harvard University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution.