Building the Invisible Efficiency Farm

Jeff Perkins for 2014 AASHE Conference, March 23, 2015

We can all see the solar farms and wind farms being built to generate clean energy, but we can never see the “efficiency farm” that is reducing consumption. Energy efficiency efforts across the United States have obviated the need to build dozens of power plants, especially in regions where activity has been the greatest such as the Pacific Northwest. Interestingly, energy efficiency efforts are often totally unnoticed by the general public and can get lost in the much bigger picture discussion of sustainability. Yet the efficiency farm is larger than all of the wind farms and solar farms put together. And it is all around us, everywhere we look, because energy efficiency is all about replacing existing systems with the latest technology so that we can do the same, or more, with less. Not fully recognized outside the circle of facility managers and industry players, energy efficiency is being captured in significant quantities every day.

The poster below explains why energy efficiency is the most economical energy resource in the US, where it is, how it gets done, how much it costs, the impact on climate mitigation, and how society benefits from a wide array of non-energy benefits. Using historical data and future projections, it will put the “efficiency farm” in context by quantifying the real impacts that energy efficiency efforts have using the same metrics as we see used for sources of generation. While many college campuses are at the forefront of capturing energy efficiency, as technology development has accelerated across all segments of our lives, so too have the technologies that drive energy efficiency, and there is no shortage of things that can be done.
Perkins Poster AASHE

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