Ideas for Energy Efficiency and Conservation

USA consumes 54% more energy per capita than OECD Europe. Should USA set a goal to reduce energy consumption by 12% at least by 2020? Should your state be one of the showcase states to lead this initiative?   What should be the top 3 projects from your perspective and why? energy-efficiency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs can make a huge impact immediately. Our research has shown that our per capita energy consumption is 54% more than OECD European countries who have very similar GDP per Capita earnings to USA overall. While a part of this can be attributed to our geography, population density and the sheer size of homes we own compared to our counterparts in European nations, much of it is because Europeans are using energy much more efficiently than us. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs can be quick wins and will have a significant return on investment and result in millions of jobs immediately. The blue wedge represents the energy saved by implementing energy programs that save an incremental 1% more energy each year for the next twelve years. If we set a goal to reduce 12% energy consumption by implementing aggressive Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs by 2020, it can mean $300B in energy savings. Given that we consumed 29,500 Billion kWh equivalent energy in 2008, 1% savings account for 295 Billion kWh. If we assume we save 10 cents for every kWh energy we save through this program, this amounts to roughly $30B savings, so for 12% we save $360B. Note that energy efficiency & conservation programs will continue to make the single largest impact from day one to at least 2020 among all the stretch goals SEI programs. For an indepth understanding, read our Strategy (1.4mb PDF)

  

7 Comments

  1. The 3 top energy consuming appliances in your residence are:

    1) Air conditioner
    2) Refrigerator
    3) Plasma TV

    Use them efficiently, make changes and compare the before-after effects on your bill.

  2. Bipin, thank you for letting us know about 20 minute lifestyle concept and Riverwalk project in Fort Collins, Colorado. As you know invVEST is totally focused on Sustainable Energy Initiatives and I know 20 minute lifestyle can significantly save energy and hence will fit under the energy cluster: Energy Efficiency and Conservation.

    We have set a pragmatic goal of reducing our energy consumption per capita by 1% each year until we get to 12% by 2020. Pragmatic because, many countries in Europe are setting even more aggressive goals and our current differential of 54% more energy consumption per capita may actually increase by 2020 compared to European OECD countries. Given that USA consumed 29,500Billion kWh equivalent from all energy sources in 2008, (see Figure 1 & 3 in Strategy document) a 1% savings amounts to 295 Billion kWh. If we assume a cost of 10.02 cents/kWh it amounts to $30 Billion savings a year. Even if we assume energy cost will remain flat if we save 12% by 2020, the total savings for USA per year will be $360 Billion/year. We will need to quickly understand which are the top 100 programs our country needs to focus on to achieve that savings. We will also need to understand what we need to invest to achieve that savings. We will very likely find that there may be many programs where behavioral changes can cut our energy consumption. That may require education at schools and colleges and promotions to show it’s cool to save energy. We may also find we may have to invest in complex multi year programs like the smart grid like the Boulder City Project at a national scale.

    If we want to make Colorado the showcase State, we cannot compete on absolute energy savings. California, Texas and other states with larger population will far outpace us. But we can strive to become the number one State in energy savings per Capita for the next 12 years. Given that Colorado’s population is 1.63% of US, our fair share of energy savings should be $488 Million per year in 2009 or $5.8 Billion per year by 2020. To be number one we may need to strive for $8 Billion in savings by 2020. Assuming our current population expands to 6 million from the current 5 million, that works out to $1,333 in savings per capita/year in Colorado.

    Given that scenario, can you let us know how much energy savings Riverwalk community can achieve by 2020 and how many similar 20 minute life style communities you hope to have in Colorado by 2020? If it can be validated that it provides a significant portion of the $8 billion in savings Colorado should target for by 2020? If it provides a significant energy savings, besides all the other benefits it provides, it should be given a lot of support from the State Public and Private Sectors.

  3. Incredible Colorado – We have a time of great crisis. Individual states are competing to sustain and improve their share of GDP, and population. At a time like this, political and business leaders have a great opportunity to provide a compelling story for businesses and people across America to stay in or move to Colorado and make it a destination state. Twenty Minute Lifestyle™, is that compelling vision. This vision supports the creation of communities where people can work, live, play, have access to all the amenities for quality life within the community, and cut down the wasted effort spent in commuting. Thank you President Obama to come to Colorado to sign the bill and recognize Colorado as an Energy economy state.

    America is going through a transformation. Every transformation in the history has resulted into dislocation of economic activity. Colorado has gone through oil bust, mining bust, and telecommunication bust. These experiences along with focus on infrastructure and education have created an opportunity such that next twenty years belong to Colorado as far as economic development and quality of living is concerned.

    Colorado is uniquely positioned to participate in Energy economy, tourism, and technology innovation. That happens to be the focus of Obama administration as well. Colorado has great landscape, educated workforce, beautiful mountains, and a diversified population. Colorado has diversified business activity from telecommunication, mining, tourism, defense and now a big force in alternative energy.

    There have been several attempts to create a distinct local identity and community experience in Boulder, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Stapleton, and others. Most of these communities have been designed around a commute based lifestyle and lack the inclusiveness needed to create a fully vibrant, stable, and viable community. The lack of a strategic vision in planning shows up in very fundamental ways. The city of Boulder (no planned affordable housing for young families), Highlands Ranch (more of residential commute based community), Greenwood Village (only for upper middle class and rich). They all lacked strategic vision, planning and local government support to build an ecosystem and community that can withstand economic ups and downs and combine a earnings from and global economy with a fully integrated local spending economy.

    A Twenty Minute Lifestyle community should comprehend that a vibrant community is created when a diverse community is created that can address the lifestyle requirements of young and old, single and married, rich, middle-class, and younger earners just starting out, and ensures that people will have ample outlets for spending their income in the local community. In order to support the income needs of this diverse, vibrant community the local government should attract big and small businesses which focus on the new economic paradigms of biotechnology, alternate energy as well as the tried and true staple businesses. Local government should ensure that retail areas are integrated into the communities (and not set up as strip malls) with access to pedestrians and cyclists, an ambience that encourages people to get out of their cars and walk and mingle with their neighbors, and creates foot traffic for retailers. In the end Americans will not give up their car based lifestyle unless the alternate is a more attractive and rich lifestyle.

    Riverwalk development project near Fort Collins, a brainchild of STONERCO, and Turnkey developments is a perfect model project. This 900 acres development will provide an environment for companies to have a walk to work environment, affordable housing for families, access to education, retail, healthcare, and sustainable living with a focus on environment. Earlier attempts by Stapleton and Highlands Ranch while successful as real estate development are not in-line with the energy economy, and future reality of sustainability requirements, affordability, quality of living. Riverwalk will be the benchmark; defining how future real estate development (Twenty minute lifestyle micro-cities) will happen in Colorado, and across the world. Riverwalk will be the first model micro-city in Colorado.

    Wish you all the best, Riverwalk, and Incredible Colorado!

    If you have a question, about Global economy, Real Estate, and Politics correlation, feel free to ask.

    Bipin Agarwal
    Redhawk Investments Group.
    http://www.redhawkinvestments.com

    Blog (RedByte):
    http://twentyminutelifestyle.wordpress.com

    Business Week – India Real Estate
    http://bx.businessweek/india-real-estate/

    Twenty-Minute Lifestyle™
    Direct US (303) 883-6198
    Fax US (720) 833-0163
    India 099456 57770
    bipin.agarwal@redhawkinvestments.com
    bagarwal.india@gmail.com

  4. In addition to harvesting energy from renewable sources — definitely a noble effort — a nobler effort would be for each of us, individually to attempt to reduce our own carbon footprint. This should apply across the board, across states, and we as US citizens need to set the example. having said this, I retract my statement, since we are the largest consumer, so how can we set the example of sacrifice?

    US total energy consumption is the highest in the world at about 100 quadrillion BTUs and percapita comsumption is 10th after Canada and some small island nations and a few small countries. The US per capita consumption is approximately double that of UK, France, Japan and most European countries. Wow.

    The regional differences inside the country can mostly be explained by climate conditions. Now, how can we all reduce our part in this energy consumption. Some slight changes in thermostat and minor changes in driving patterns could be the first tentative steps. Lower driving speeds by as little as 5 mph can lead to 5% less gas consumption. Longer term, more public transportations, smaller houses would be a step in the right direction. Let us all do our part.

  5. California has long been a leader in the renewable energy arena. Round the turn of the lasr century it was common to see pipes of water thermally heated by the sun in many homes. In fact when I bought my home the pool water was adequatly heated by such a system. A very simple system, easy to maintain and low cost to boost.

    PG&E, our largest energy supplier currently supplies 12% of its energry from renewable sources (solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal) under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – one of the highest volumes of any utility in the United States. In addition, more than 50 percent of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no or low carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming. California’s has one of the stringest emission laws for cars, which has significantly helped clean up our urban air pollution.

    Recently the Milpitas Unified School District, in collaboration with Chevron and Bank of America, installed solar panels at 14 different sites that will reduce by 75% the electricoity needs of the school district and cut costs by $12 Million annually. The energy generated is expected to satisfy 100% the districts peak power needs in the summer months when demand is the highest. The solar panels were installed in the parking lots providing shade to cars and personnel.

    California’s RPS program requires its each utility to increase the renewable energy component of the power supplied by 1% of load per year.

  6. Colorado – The State
    At a recent presentation (March 12, 2009) at our State Capitol Governor Ritter along with Robert Kennedy, Jr. highlighted that our state is a major leader in the Renewable Energy Economy. Past efforts by many key people in this state has broadened our economic base and drawn key contributors to our state.
    Vestas, which is one of the biggest wind turbine manufacturers in the world, has placed confidence in us by building 3 facilities in Colorado that will employ 2500 people not counting supporting businesses and their manufacturing facility in Pueblo will be the world’s largest producer of towers.
    Just by attending a few meeting and noticing the explosive growth of attendees at renewable energy programs as well as continuous business articles, it is clear that Colorado is in the spot light.

  7. I think Colorado is an ideal State to set an example for many other States to emulate as Colorado, led By Governer Ritter’s team, has initiated many energy efficiency programs. With a comprehensive plan that identifies the best programs, we can now take it to the next level. A comprehensive vision and a detailed deployment plan that incorporates accountability and Return on Investment may help Colorado get more follow-on Stimulus Funds.
    If we target at the national level a 1% per capita energy consumption reduction it equates to roughly $30B as stated above. If we assume the average payback is 3 years we will need $90B investment to make at the national level. Given that Colorado’s population is about 1.6% of total USA, our fair share of energy consumption reduction programs should be around $1.6 Billion. We need to systematically identify programs and rank them by ROI, needbase and priorities. I would suggest that the only programs that the stimulus dollars should help fund are critical programs such as the Boulder Smart Grid Program to implement it on a larger scale. Stimulus funding should also cover socially conscious programs which lack funding. Almost all other programs should be funded through private funding and the State should provide Bond funding similar to Boulder but in a much larger scale.
    We should use Boulder as a model for efficiency programs for others in the state as well as the nation to emulate. Given that Boulder’s population is roughly 1/10th the State Population, we should target $160M in efficiency programs alone each year to meet the target of reducing energy consumption by at least 1% per year. Since they have started the Bond fund and it also has the Smart Grid Program we need to plan for the next 11 years to reach at least 12% reduction in energy consumption by 2020.
    In reality many energy efficiency & conservation programs can be acheived by very little investment through education and advertising behavioral changes that can reduce energy consumption. This can range from scaling up school programs that increase smarter recycling, smarter use of transportation, encouraging mass transit, encouraging telecommuting without reducing productivity, etc.
    Also there are several entities in Colorado that have done some very significant work in this area, a few that come to mind are UCD Community Sustainability programs run by Dr. Anu Ramaswami, iCAST programs and efficiency measuring, recommendation tools, programs by RMI built in teams, etc.

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