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Smart Energy Solutions: Improve Energy Efficiency

Improving the energy efficiency of our homes, businesses, and industries can yield quick, significant, and sustained energy savings, and save consumers and businesses billions of dollars in the process.

Time and again, energy efficiency policies have proven to be smart investments that create significant financial returns. What’s more, these energy savings would allow us to shut down the oldest, dirtiest power plants—and not build new ones to replace them.

We already have the technology to reduce our natural gas and electricity consumption by more than 25 percent. In order to get these efficient technologies and measures deployed, we need policies and programs that help overcome entrenched, inefficient practices and empower businesses and consumers to make wise decisions and eliminate wasteful uses of energy.

Focus on the Big Picture

Our homes, businesses, and industries account for three-quarters of U.S. energy consumption and two-thirds of U.S. carbon emissions. They are also where some of the most significant and readily available energy savings can be found.

In Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy, UCS highlights energy efficiency initiatives with the potential for the greatest savings.

Increase the Efficiency of Our Homes

Our homes and residential buildings account for 21 percent of total U.S. energy use. The electricity used to power our air conditioners, lighting, refrigerators, and other appliances accounts for roughly half of that; water and space heating consume the rest.

Programs like the Energy Star Label help consumers make better, more efficient choices when they replace or install new appliances. Building new homes with efficiency in mind can add even more savings.

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Improve Industrial and Commercial Efficiency

The industrial sector produces millions of different products for consumers each year, but is also responsible for about one-third of all U.S. energy use. The buildings where we work, shop, meet, and play account for another 18 percent of energy consumption.

Energy-efficient building designs can significantly reduce the energy demands of both sectors. Investing in high-efficiency combined heat and power systems has the potential to save even more.

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