In 1990, the United States consumed nearly 85 quadrillion Btus of energy, which produced 1,367 million metric tons (MMTs) of carbon.[5] Fossil energy consumption is responsible for more than 85 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Investing in energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. The Action Plan combines an array of public/private partnerships to stimulate the deployment of existing energy-efficient technologies and accelerate the introduction of more advanced technologies. These programs will cut CO2 emissions while enhancing productivity at home and our competitiveness abroad. It is an aggressive agenda, and it is backed up with the resources necessary to get the job done.

Technical studies have consistently shown that profitable energy efficiency investments exist in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, yet many of these opportunities go unrealized. This observation neither refutes the technical studies nor suggests that people or firms behave irrationally -- energy analysts have identified the information, regulatory, financial and institutional barriers that impede this investment. Many private sector efforts successfully address these barriers. For example, utility sponsored conservation programs and energy service companies are able to exploit opportunities for profitable energy savings.

Programs that enhance and accelerate these trends can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase U.S. competitiveness. The Action Plan is a comprehensive strategy that applies innovative solutions to these investment barriers -- from financial reforms in residential mortgages to agreements between motor manufactures and users. This plan will align market forces with the environmental imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the past, many Federal programs have been a confusing patchwork of competing activities that were not coordinated effectively with utility or state and local efforts. By expanding existing successful programs, combining them with new and complementary initiatives, and linking programs with state, local, and private sector efforts, the Action Plan will maximize the energy-saving impact of Federal programs.

Commercial Energy Efficiency Strategy

In 1990, commercial buildings accounted for nearly 11 percent of total end-use energy consumption.[6] However, commercial buildings consumed over 30 percent of all electricity, primarily for lighting, heating, cooling, and air handling. Including the fossil fuel used to generate the electricity, the commercial sector accounts for over 15 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions.[7]

Across America, companies are investing in energy efficiency in order to improve their energy performance, lower overhead, and increase their competitiveness. The EPA Green Lights program continues to help firms reduce lighting bills by forging agreements with corporate partners, utilities, lighting equipment suppliers and by offering state-of-the-art technical assistance. DOE and EPA sponsor research programs in commercial energy technologies. Expanding these programs into new technologies and markets will further cut greenhouse gas emissions while improving competitiveness.



Eli Lilly & Company to save $3 Million Each Year with Green Lights

Residential Energy Efficiency Strategy

In 1990, America's homes consumed 15 percent of all U.S. end-use energy, and accounted for 34 percent of U.S electricity demand. Including the fossil fuels used to generate electricity for homes, the residential sector contributed 19 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions in 1990. Key targets for improvement include heating and cooling, home appliances, lighting, and the design of the building exterior itself. An energy-efficient new home that meets today's best design criteria consumes 50 percent less energy than a poorly designed alternative, while offering a lower lifecycle cost. A typical home built 15 years ago can be upgraded to save 20 percent of energy use, at a profit to homeowners.

The Action Plan targets key opportunities in the residential sector, and includes a mix of partnerships with business and utilities, economic incentives, and new standards and building codes. The plan will also count on homeowners to embrace the many money-saving options available, as local governments and utilities reach out to assist in this effort.




The Golden Carrot Super Efficient Refrigerator Program

Industrial Energy Efficiency Strategy

The nation's industries consumed 39 percent of the nation's end-use energy in 1990, including 35 percent of electricity generated. Since two-thirds of the sector's electricity use is for motors, industrial motors use over 20 percent of all U.S. electricity generation. Including the emissions from electricity generation, the industrial sector accounted for 33 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions in 1990. A small number of major manufacturing groups -- primary metals, petroleum refining, chemicals, pulp and paper -- account for about 70 percent of industrial energy use.

Since the 1970's, the Federal government has funded a large research and development program for energy efficiency and waste-reduction technologies in the industrial sector. The Action Plan establishes working partnerships with American industry to help get those improvements off of the drawing board and on to the factory floor.




Linking Industrial Competitiveness with Environmental Objectives


[5] A quadrillion Btu (quad) is 10 exponential 15 Btu.

[6] All 190 energy figures are derived from Annual Energy Outlook 1993 Energy Information Administration). "End-use" energy does not include the generation and distribution losses in electric generation, which on average account for almost 70 percent of the fuel input used in powerplants.

[7] The emission figure assumes that the sector's electric utility CO2 emissions are proportional to its share of electric demand.