Sen. Harry Reid led a conference call last this week announcing a new report just released by the Center for American Progress on energy efficiency called "Efficiency Works: (PDF). The findings: energy-efficiency, in addition to being one of the most untapped resources of personal wealth, is also one of the most promising avenues for stimulating a limping economy.
America households are responsible for 22 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of $230 billion anually, with about $122 billion (53 percent) going towards heating and cooling our homes. According to the Department of Energy up to 40 percent of that is wasted due to poor insulation and leaks. The commercial sector (which represents another 18 percent of energy consumption) is similarly inefficient:
All tolled, if just 2/5 of our leaky, drafty bulidings were sealed up, we could return about $640 billion back into the economy through collective energy savings over the next 10 years while creating 625,000 new, permanent jobs. If we could manage to retrofit 3/5 of our buildings it would represent nearly a trillion in savings and a million new jobs — not a bad stimulus package.
From a climate perspective this would also be a huge win — eliminating 5 percent or more of total U.S. CO2 emissions.
Reid will be presenting at next week's third annual Energy Summit in Nevada, the home of the soon-to-be largest solar installation in the world. You can watch it streaming here.