The Link between Energy Efficiency, Useful Work, and a Robust Economy
This chapter suggests that level of energy efficiency has been a primary driver of economic productivity, especially since the advance of the Industrial Revolution that began in the mid-eighteenth century. If robust economy is to be maintained, we are required to simultaneously decrease the costs of energy services while also enabling a paradoxical increase in "useful energy" consumption. The key to resolving this paradox is reducing the waste associated with our larger demand for raw energy. The chapter shows that there remains significant opportunities to improve system energy efficiencies in ways that maintain the robustness of future economic activity. It suggests that growth in energy efficiency has enabled much of the country's larger economic productivity and growth in personal income. The chapter illustrates that the past energy-efficiency investments have been a critical resource in promoting ongoing economic productivity throughout all levels of the economy.