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The Beauty Of Industrial Energy Efficiency

By Stephen Lacey

"The Beauty Of Industrial Energy Efficiency"

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Industry is about producing more, more, more. And that means sucking up more and more energy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If industrial development is viewed through an efficiency lens, America could grow its industrial strength while using substantially less energy.

As part of its Reinventing Fire series, the Rocky Mountain Institute has outlined a plan for increasing the U.S. industrial base 84 percent by 2050 while using 9 percent less energy. The plan is founded on a concept RMI has been championing for many years: integrative design. By taking advantage of system-wide efficiency opportunities at facilities rather than one-off projects, the need for expensive pieces of equipment diminishes, often reducing the upfront cost and accelerating savings.

RMI has produced a great new video on the concept. It’s worth a look:

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3 Responses to The Beauty Of Industrial Energy Efficiency

  1. Gail Zawacki says:

    More, more, more isn’t just bad when it refers to energy use. We live on one finite planet. Therefore, more of anything – whether it’s resource, pollution, or people – is a prescription for disaster.

    Please let’s not pretend that non-renewable resources are renewable.

    There are are limits to growth which we’ve ignored at our peril, and we are now in overshoot. How anyone can advocate industrial growth in light of all the indications that we face an existential threat to our species as well as most others thanks to heedless exploitation of nature is a mystery to me.

  2. Yep.

    Thanatotic beauty,

  3. Joan Savage says:

    Pew projects a population of 438 million in 2050, so that would be an increase of 139%

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2008/02/11/us-population-projections-2005-2050/

    With 139% projected population growth by 2050, do we really need a 184% industrial growth by then?

    Suppose we knock off unnecessary growth.

    If 91% of contemporary energy consumption could fuel a 184% increase in industry, then does it also follow that a drop in fuel use to little more than half of present energy consumption, through installing the same efficiency, could fuel all our present industry?

    And wouldn’t that efficiency make sustainable energy all the more comprehensive, sooner, particularly if it is to meet a more modest demand?

    We don’t want the efficiency invested in dead ends like ‘clean coal.’