After Steven Chu departed the Energy Department, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) decided to take “A Look Back at Secretary Chu’s Enormous Impact on Energy Savings.”
The ACEEE found:
Taking into account products sold between now and 2035, new efficiency standards adopted during Chu’s four-year stint will net U.S. consumers and businesses more than $100 billion in savings. The energy saved by these new standards will be about enough to power the entire U.S. economy—all of our buildings, industries, homes, cars, and trucks—for about four months.
So Steven Chu is the $100 Billion man. No wonder energy efficiency has the highest documented rate of return of any federal program.
Here are some highlights:
- Standards completed in 2009 for the tube-shape fluorescent lamps used mostly in offices will save more energy than any other standard ever issued by DOE.
- New water heater standards will help heat pump technology and gas condensing technology gain a market foothold by focusing on large water heaters where these new technologies are most cost-effective.
- New residential refrigerator and clothes washer standards will reduce the average energy use of these products by about 25% and 40%, respectively. These standards show that continued technological gains can deliver cost-effective energy savings, even for products that have already achieved dramatic improvements.
In his first speech as energy secretary, Dr. Ernie Moniz pledged that “efficiency is going to be a big focus going forward.” Indeed, at a conference sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy, Moniz said:
“Let me just say off the bat that I have been working these problems for quite a while, I have never seen a credible solution to the climate risk mitigation challenge, to reach the kinds of goals we need to reach, without the demand side playing a very, very important part in that.”
Perhaps Moniz will be the first trillion-dollar man. Certainly future generations will need that kind of savings if we are to avert catastrophic climate change.
- Energy efficiency is THE core climate solution, the biggest and cheapest low-carbon resource by far