Energy efficiency initiatives have saved hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs while preventing sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the recently released Energy Efficiency Impact Report by a consortium of three energy efficiency organizations.
Efficiency investments since 1980 prevented a 60% increase in energy consumption and carbon emissions and are responsible for half of the carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the U.S. power sector since 2005, the report says.
Energy-efficient lighting has been a notable success, with a market for LEDs that went from an emerging technology to dominant deployment in less than a decade. The U.S. has decreased its lighting energy consumption by 16% from 2001 to 2015, despite a 25% increase in lamp inventory by 25% over that period.
Residential energy use per household has fallen by roughly 16% from 2001 to 2018. Model building energy codes are expected to save $126 billion in energy costs and 13 quads of primary energy from 2010 to 2040.
Policymaking, including federal, state, and local standards and codes, has been a critical enabler of energy efficiency deployment, but progress is now at risk of stalling, the report says.