A crash program to improve the energy efficiency of American homes, offices, and factories could slash energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020 and produce $1.2 trillion in savings, according to a report by the McKinsey consulting firm. McKinsey said that taking steps such as better insulating buildings, replacing old appliances, and sealing ducts is the fastest and best way to cut the country’s energy consumption. The firm recommended an investment of $520 billion in energy efficiency programs over the next 10 years, an amount that dwarfs the $10 billion to $15 billion included in the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package.
McKinsey executives acknowledged that carrying out such an efficiency program on a large scale faces numerous challenges, including the reluctance of homeowners and businesses to invest sizeable sums of money and a lack of tax breaks and other financial incentives for efficiency improvements. Still, the McKinsey report said that better education of homeowners and businesses, tighter building codes, stricter efficiency requirements for appliances, and the creation of greater incentives could go a long way toward cutting the U.S.’s wasteful energy use.
This article originally appeared on Yale Environment 360 at http://e360.yale.edu