Delivering the world’s 2005 energy services used ~9x the minimum energy theoretically required; Cambridge University analysts think ~85% of world energy demand “could be practically avoided using current knowledge and available technologies.” Many economic modelers assume that even their models' much smaller energy efficiency potential must incur steeply rising costs. Yet the emerging empirical reality is the opposite. Integrative design—optimizing buildings, vehicles, factories, and equipment as whole systems, not as isolated components—makes practical energy efficiency gains severalfold larger and cheaper than most experts now suppose. Properly choosing, combining, timing, and sequencing fewer and simpler efficiency techniques can even yield increasing returns (lower cost with higher volume), akin to those that drive today’s renewable electricity revolution. Across most energy uses and all sectors, whole-system engineering thus offers astonishing opportunities for deeper, cheaper energy efficiency and profitable climate protection.
Amory Lovins is a prolific author of hundreds of influential publications on energy and related topics, including ground-breaking books such as Soft Energy Paths, Natural Capitalism, and Winning the Oil Endgame.
Dr. Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works, has devoted a decade to work at the intersection of equity and inclusion with policy and technology deployment. In particular, Dr. Hummel has focused on finance mechanisms to accelerate investment in distributed energy solutions without regard to a customer’s income, credit score or renter status. Those pursuits have led to four international awards for breakthrough climate solutions, including work endorsed by the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance.
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