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ACEEE claims new source of energy via Intelligent Efficiency

June 5, 2012 - The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says the United States has a major new source of energy that could rival the contribution made to the economy by natural gas, coal and nuclear power. A report released by ACEEE concludes that up to about a quarter (22%) of current Stateside energy consumption could be replaced by what experts are calling ‘intelligent efficiency’.


June 5, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

The key to understanding intelligent efficiency is to stop thinking about energy efficiency simply in terms of individual devices (e.g. autos or refrigerators), says ACEEE, and to start thinking about it in terms of complex systems (e.g. entire cities, transportation systems, and other networks) connected through the internet and computer technologies.

“System efficiency opportunities produce energy savings that dwarf component-based efficiency improvements by an order of magnitude,” the report says. “System efficiency is performance-based, optimizing the performance of the system overall—its components, their relationships to one another, and their relationships to human operators.”

The report goes on to say that, were homeowners and businesses to take advantage of currently available information and communications technologies that enable system efficiencies, the United States could reduce its energy use by about 12-22% and realize tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in energy savings and productivity gains.

“This is not your father’s device-driven approach to energy efficiency. A large portion of our past efficiency gains came from improvements in individual products, appliances and equipment, such as light bulbs, electric motors, or cars and trucks,” notes R. Neal Elliott, ACEEE associate director for research. “And while device-level technology improvements will continue to play an important role, looking ahead we must take a systems-based approach to dramatically scale up energy efficiency to meet our future energy challenges.”

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“There is resounding agreement that information and communications technology can make a huge impact in addressing the twin challenges of energy security and climate change,” said Stephen Harper, global director of environment and energy policy, Intel Corp. “This new work by ACEEE should help both industry and government better understand ‘smart policies’ necessary to fully realize the potential of technology in this arena.”

“This report is further evidence of the real revolution happening in our industry, the convergence of energy management and information that’s allowing companies to achieve significant savings of 30% or more,” said Paul Hamilton, vice-president, government affairs, Schneider Electric. “It’s time for businesses and government to get involved and engaged in the partnerships and programs that will make this more of an everyday reality.”

The full ACEEE report is available online: http://aceee.org/research-report/e125