September 16, 2008
Energy Efficiency Crucial to Achieving Energy Security and Reducing Global Warming, States Leading Scientists Report
American Physical Society Report Says Using Energy Wasted Now from Inefficiencies Is America's Hidden Energy Reserve for 21st Century
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 16, 2008) — Eliminating wasted energy from automobiles, homes and businesses is equivalent to tapping a hidden energy reserve that will help the United States improve its energy security and reduce global warming, an American Physical Society (APS) study panel concluded in a major report released today.
The report, Energy Future: Think Efficiency, reaches three overarching conclusions:
The report concludes that the average light-duty vehicle should have a mileage of at least 50 miles per gallon by 2030 and that widespread construction of homes that require no fossil fuels should be possible in most areas by 2020.
The report recommends that the federal government invest more in its research and development programs, particularly in the areas of batteries for conventional hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. The report credits automakers for devoting resources to the development of hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles, but concludes that they will not be a short-term solution to the nation’s energy needs because to be broadly adopted they will require significant scientific and engineering breakthroughs in several critical areas.
The study also calls on Congress and the White House to increase spending on research and development of next-generation building technologies and on training scientists who work on building technologies. Additionally, it recommends that lawmakers develop policies that address a wide-array of market barriers that discourage consumers from investing in energy-efficient technologies, especially in the highly fragmented building sector.
"The American people need leadership from the Congress and the next president on this issue," said Nobel Laureate Burton Richter, chair of the study panel and director emeritus of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. "Both Sens. McCain and Obama have outlined plans for improving energy efficiency and the important role new technologies will play in our energy future. The next leader of the United States will have an opportunity to be the first in history to lay the necessary groundwork to reduce energy use among Americans."
Among its key findings and recommendations for the transportation and building sectors:
The report also calls on Congress and the White House to allocate funds for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science consistent with the authorizations in the 2005 Energy and Policy Act and the 2007 America COMPETES Act. And it calls on DOE to fully comply with the Energy Policy Act mandate to improve coordination between its basic and applied research activities and to fold long-term applied research into its scientific programming in a more serious way than it currently does.
For a full copy of the APS report Energy Future: Think Efficiency and related materials, go to http://www.aps.org/energyefficiencyreport/.
The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.