Only behavioral change will reduce energy consumption.
Andrew Rudin is an energy management consultant based in Philadelphia. For 30 years he’s been project coordinator for the Interfaith Coalition on Energy. He’s served on energy conservation committees at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). Fortnightly published his article, “Feel Good Electric Waste,” in April 2003.
Energy efficiency is our national policy. We have huge programs like EnergyStar, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and various energy codes and standards. All of these programs assume that increased energy efficiency will reduce our energy use.
Many Americans believe this is important because, as we burn fossil fuels, we are pumping carbon dioxide and other pollutants into our air faster than natural systems can absorb them, changing our climate. Many of us also remember the price shocks of the 1970s—the days of lines and hoses. We hope that energy efficiency will slow or mitigate pollution and climate change, and also protect us from future price shocks, by reducing our energy use.