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American Physical Society Report Says Recovery of Lost Energy From Inefficiencies Is America’s Hidden Energy Reserve for 21st Century
Tapping wasted energy from inefficient automobiles, homes and businesses is equivalent to discovering 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.
The report, Energy Future: Think Efficiency, states that the key to unlocking the efficiency potential is developing policies that will put technology into the marketplace and developing new technologies through applied and basic research in the public and private sectors.
The study panel concluded that increased energy efficiency, particularly in the transportation and building sectors, will help eliminate U.S. reliance on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
Most recommendations addressing high fuel costs focus on either increasing the supply of oil or finding a substitute fuel, but the APS report offers a practical roadmap with short-term and longer-term solutions for reducing demand through cost-effective efficiencies that find public and political acceptance.
The report provides a path to 50 miles per gallon mileage for cars and other light-duty vehicles by 2030 and the elimination of energy from fossil fuels in new residential buildings by 2020.
It also states that the federal government should broaden its research, development and demonstration 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 are not a solution to the nation’s short-term energy needs because they 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, training scientists who work on building technologies and supporting associated national laboratory, university and private-sector research programs. Additionally, it recommends that lawmakers develop policies that address a wide-array of market barriers that discourage consumers from adopting investment in energy-efficient 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 committee 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 other key findings and recommendations based on the 12-month study are:
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