The $60 Billion Opportunity – Are We Ready For It?

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Energy Efficiency

No matter what kind of energy it is – people can save most of it with a few simple improvements.  Believe it or not, with that saving comes extra cash.  Want to know how?

“The Fifth Fuel,” after oil, nuclear, coal, and renewables is Energy Efficiency.  It actually deserves better than co-equal status as the side effects it produces, unlike the other afore-mentioned energy sources, are negligible.  Beth Hartman of the E Source Consultancy, comments that, “The cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy that we don’t use.”  Say what?

Yup.  That’s right.  Figuring out how and where to save energy is another source of clean energy.  Yet, it is mind-boggling to contemplate how much energy goes by the wayside.  Years and years of energy efficiency messages and ever-increasing energy prices have not been enough to make a significant dent.  In a recent E Source report, it estimates that businesses waste a collective $60 billion a year, or 30% of the total power consumed by U.S. industrial and commercial facilities.  So, how do we begin to earn that $60 billion back?

Well, here’s a look at some particular industries with ideas for savings and easy energy efficiency implementation:

HEALTH CARE – 10% of the nation’s energy consumption comes from hospital buildings at a cost of $8.3 billion annually. By retro-commissioning, doing equipment performance testing, and more effective management of steam – the most prevalent heating method in hospitals – mucho dinero can be saved.

HOSPITALITY – In a recent Pacific Gas and Electric Company study, it discovered that “80 percent of the $10 billion spent annually by the commercial food service sector on energy use is lost to inefficient cooking methods.”  Food service facilities are 3x more energy intensive than most other types of commercial buildings.  Some of the fixes include: new cooking exhaust hoods, water-saving dishwashers, better energy management systems, and even green ice machines.

DATA CENTERS – The black hole of energy consumption.  Google alone uses the equivalent of 200,000 homes annually.  According to The New York Times, many facilities waste 90% of the energy pulled directly from the grid. More energy is also eaten up by PCs needlessly left on than is actually used by the data centers. FYI – Screen savers do not save energy at all.

GOVERNMENT – Local, State, and Federal government buildings use 26% more energy than many other office types.  Much of this is due to the age of government buildings – typically, 10+ years older than other office buildings.  Retro-fitting them for cleaner consumption and energy efficiency is a very possible solution.

In reality, energy efficiency should be a no-brainer in terms of saving money.  Theoretically, everyone agrees that saving energy consumption and money is a good thing, so why aren’t we all pitching in to reach that $60 billion savings?


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