Marked improvement in US energy efficiency

Energy use in US

The US is consuming energy considerably more efficiently and with lower emissions than just five years ago thanks to a slew of modern technologies that are changing decades-old patterns, according to a major new report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the Business Council on Sustainable Energy. Energy Star-certified commercial building floor space has increased by 139% from 2008 to 2012, and the stringency of building air conditioning efficiency standards has increased by up to 34% since 2005. Overall, energy intensity for US commercial buildings has now dropped by more than 40% since 1980.

The 2013 Factbook researched and produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and commissioned by the Business Council on Sustainable Energy, offers a fresh look at the state of US energy along with the roles these new technologies and innovations now play.

Preliminary estimates show that total energy use fell 6.4% between 2007 and 2012, driven largely by advances in energy efficiency. The use of natural gas and renewable energy has increased, while other major energy sources such as coal and oil have experienced significant declines. Natural gas provided the US with 27% of its total energy supply in 2012, and renewables (including hydropower) supplied 9.4%.

In April 2012, electricity generation from natural gas equalled that from coal for the first time in US history, with carbon dioxide (CO?) emissions from the energy sector now on pace to sink to their lowest level in the US since 1994.

“Significant changes are occurring in the US energy sector that are boosting investment and accelerating deployment of a range of commercially available clean technologies,” said Lisa Jacobson, President of Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

“The 2013 Factbook outlines these dynamics and provides the very latest data, not just on how much is being invested or how much is getting built, but on today’s costs for these technologies. Our hope is that the report serves as a useful tool for policymakers and investors seeking the very best benchmarks in the energy sector.”