Among the many measures the world can take to wean itself off fossil fuels, few match the benefits of making homes, business, and cars more energy-efficient. But financial and psychological barriers have kept individuals, businesses, and governments from realizing efficiency’s great potential.
The United States has the potential to save more than $1.2 trillion in energy costs and cut consumption by 23 percent by 2020, according to a report released last week by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. The comprehensive energy-efficiency strategy cited in the report removes approximately 1.1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually — the equivalent of taking the entire U.S. fleet of light trucks and passenger vehicles off the roads. It also could produce savings that exceed California’s total annual energy consumption.