An analysis published by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggests the United States is just 39% energy-efficient.
In other words, 61% of the total energy that flows through our economy gets wasted. And that’s the conservative projection. They believe this number could be as high as 86%.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been tracking energy efficiency in the United States since the 1970s. And 2012 was the third most wasteful year on record.
Most of the wasted energy, a broadly defined term in this case, comes from gas-run cars, trains, and planes. LLNL estimates internal combustion engines are somewhere around 21% efficient. At home, they estimate around 65% efficiency, but they believe that’s a fairly optimistic estimate at this point.
Their estimate doesn’t currently account for behavioral energy use (like leaving the AC on when you’re not home).
Well, clearly the two biggest areas for improvement are driving and electricity use at home. So here’s some things you can look at:
You don’t have to be a mechanical genius who can modify your vehicle so it runs with amazing efficiency. Most fuel efficiency problems are more related to how you drive.
Drive around the speed limit. Not only does that help you save more gas, but you also improve your safety too. Keep your windows up and run your AC because driving with your windows down increases drag and reduces your fuel efficiency. Properly inflate your tires and replace your dirty air filter with a clean one for additional savings.
In your house, the biggest user of electricity is always your heating and cooling system. It’s actually quite intricate. To get the most energy savings, you’ll want to work with an HVAC contractor who understands how to seal your home’s air envelope. This takes more sophisticated knowledge, and simply replacing your AC doesn’t always offer huge energy savings. In fact, that can even increase your energy use.
Personally, you can turn your AC up a couple degrees, and make sure your whole home operates on LED lights. They’re coming down in price by day.
Those are the biggest things you can do to improve your efficiency. And generally, when you improve your own efficiency, you’ll improve your comfort too.
It’s a win-win no homeowner can turn down.