The debate around energy in the U.S. is focused on building out more production to encourage greater economic growth. Efficiency, given a courteous nod, is often seen as something extra that we deploy on top of new production.
But a new report concludes just the opposite: our economy is more closely tied to efficiency improvements than to the actual production of energy.
John Laitner, a visiting fellow at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, wanted to know how much America spends on energy efficiency upgrades each year. That's not an easy goal. While it's a bit easier to quantify how much was spent on equipment and infrastructure upgrades for explicit efficiency reasons, it's harder to quantify the economy-wide impact of natural upgrades that might simply feature incrementally efficient equipment.