April 12, 2010
The Roots of Energy Efficiency: SUVs and Refrigerators

David Goldstein of the National Resources Defense Council, gave a good talk at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center in April 2009 as part of a presentation The Roots of Energy Efficiency: SUVs and Refrigerators. Takes 55 minutes. He argues convincingly that energy efficiency has fast paybacks and large strides are possible to make in improving energy efficiency of appliances and homes.

Goldstein explains how California state policy created market incentives for manufacturers to gradually improve efficiency. The gradual aspect is important. Continuous improvement (as the Japanese have demonstrated) can achieve much bigger advances than attempts at occasional leaps. The tortoise beats the hare.

Check out his historical graphs of appliance energy efficiency improvements. These graphs demonstrate what is possible. My sense of it is that appliance efficiency has improved more than

He also says there's evidence that energy efficient homes default less as do location efficient homes. Though I would expect location efficient home prices will rise to the poitn where they will have equal default rates over the long run. Though rising energy prices will delay the reaching that equilibrium.

The talk is followed by a talk by David Greene of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory about SUV and car efficiency. Greene thinks fuel economy efficiency could increase by 100% by 2030 if manufacturers were required to improve. My take: Peak Oil will force much larger improvements including a very big shift to electric cars.

In the Q&A Goldstein makes the point that the limits of efficiency improvement are in part dependent on how you define the goal. For example, much greater improvements are possible if you define a goal of how to keep your food fresh rather than how do you keep your food cold. Similarly, greater lighting efficiency improvements are possible if you define the goal as providing enough light to perform tasks rather than a goal of providing some number of lumens in a room.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 April 12 06:42 PM  Energy Conservation

Randall Parker said at April 12, 2010 11:00 PM:

Fat Man,

And yet the per capita electric power consumption curve got seriously bent by these policies.

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