James C. Cooper, “The Price of Efficiency.”
Business Week magazine
March 22, 2004

Pages 40-41

As innovation has brought ever-cheaper computing power and new ways to make use of it, capital has become increasingly cheap relative to labor. The returns on investment in new labor-saving, high-tech equipment have soared. Given that labor accounts for about two-thirds of the cost of making and selling products, greater labor productivity in today's global economy is tantamount to corporate survival.. As a result, productivity is growing even faster now than in the late 1990s. And it's a real job killer this time: A one-percentage-point increase in annual productivity growth costs about 1.3 million jobs.

Does Energy Efficiency Save Energy: The Economists Debate
Horace Herring e-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: 01908 653335
EERU Report No 074 - July 1998

1. Introduction

It has become an article of faith amongst environmentalists, seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, that improving the efficiency of energy use will lead to a reduction in energy consumption. This proposition has even been adopted by the UK government who is now promoting energy efficiency as the most cost effective solution to global warming.

However in the USA there has been a backlash against energy efficiency as an instrument of energy policy. This has been stimulated partly by disillusionment with the failures of energy conservation programs undertaken by utilities, and partly by the growing influence of the ‘contrarians’ - those hostile to government mandated environmental programs.

The debate as to whether energy efficiency is effective (that is reduces energy consumption) has spread from the pages of obscure energy economic journals in the early 1990s to the pages of newspapers, such as The New York Times in the mid 1990s. It has recently produced such polemics as the US book by Herbert Inhaber entitled Why Energy Conservation Fails, which argues, with the aid of an extensive bibliography, that mandated energy efficiency programs are a waste of time and effort.

Dan Charles “Leaping the Efficiency Gap”
from Science
14 AUGUST 2009 VOL 325

pages 804 – 811

Experience has shown that there is more to saving energy than designing better light bulbs and refrigerators. Researchers say it will need a mixture of persuasion, regulation, and taxation

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO IN BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, TWO YOUNG physicists named Steven Chu and John Holdren were present at the birth of a campaign to curb Americans’ appetite for energy. They saw their colleague Arthur Rosenfeld abandon a successful career in particle physics and set up a new research division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) devoted to energy efficiency. Then- Governor Jerry Brown and state regulatory agencies adopted Rosenfeld’s ideas with astonishing speed. California canceled planned nuclear power plants, passed pathbreaking efficiency standards for refrigerators and buildings, and ordered electric utilities to spend money persuading their customers to use less power.

Cooper, Gail.  Air-Conditioning America
Maryland, 1998
ISBN 0801857163

Page 3

Early air-conditioning systems required that buildings -- and, consequently, people's activities -- be organized around technical requirements. The question became, then, not simply whether to air-condition buildings, but what form the technology would take and who would determine that configuration. The public discussion was widely based and included workers, factory owners, public health officials, laboratory researchers, school reformers, electrical manufacturers, public utilities, and homeowners. Although most people in these groups were not qualified to critique the design of air-conditioning systems in terms of the mechanics of condensers and compressors, they showed a keen interest in such elements of atmospheric control as recirculation, air volume, temperature, and humidity. thus, the debate ranged from abstract issues, such as the proper relationship between mechanical civilization and nature, to practical concerns, such as schoolroom odors.

The legacy of this struggle is two distinct traditions in the deployment of air conditioning. One is the choice of design professionals, engineers and architects, who favor a controlled and rational system, a building that is so integrated with its mechanical services that it becomes a machine itself and is controlled by technical authority. A second is the choice of some users, who want an interior that is more comfortable but not necessarily ideal and who favor a technology that is above all flexible and responsive to the consumer's needs.

Mark Hopkins and Ted Jones, Getting In Gear The Alliance To Save Energy
January 1995

Page 6

Energy conservation vs. energy efficiency

Energy conservation traditionally refers to efforts to lower energy costs by decreasing use or eliminating waste—such as lowering thermostat settings or turning off lights when they’re not in use. In other words, getting less benefit by using less. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, refers to making capital investments in more efficient end-use products—such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, high-efficiency motors and drives, or more efficient heating systems. In other words, getting the same benefit, but using less.

Romm, Joseph J., and William D. Browning.  Greening the Building and the Bottom Line.

There is a crucial difference between designing for energy efficiency and energy conservation. Both lower energy consumption, however, conservation entails some level of curtailment of service-freezing in the dark. Energy efficiency must meet or exceed the quality of service that it replaces. The most efficient design typically focuses on giving users what they need, for example task/ambient lighting as opposed to a purely ambient strategy. It is important to reiterate that the goal of the companies in these case studies was to create energy efficient workplaces. The gains in productivity were for the most part an unanticipated effect.

From the Alliance to Save Energy’s newsletter,  April 1998

But energy efficiency is a far cry from the energy conservation images and practices of old—of doing with less or doing without, of being uncomfortable or less comfortable. Not unlike the tremendous technological strides on the computer, electronics, and other fronts, energy efficiency takes advantage of advances in technology to provide significantly better, smarter services.... Energy efficiency is the single best, immediate, cost-effective win-win solution to stem carbon dioxide emissions that lead to air pollution, global warming, and climate change.

Chartwell Report on Energy Efficiency Spotlights Best Practices Case Studies and Provides Benchmarking Data Online Exclusive
Nov 11, 2003, 12:00 a.m. ET

As a result of their energy efficiency programs, the top 15%-performing investor-owned utilities save at least 5.5% of their total electricity sales and spend no more than $3 per MWh to achieve these results, according to a new Chartwell report, "Utility Energy Efficiency Programs and Benchmarking Data."

Utilities in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council save an average of 1.42% of electricity sales. But WECC utilities in the 90th percentile save 7.47% of total electricity sales. While utilities in the region spend an average of US$118 to save one MWh, the top performing utilities spend only $3 per MWh saved.

Included in Utility Energy Efficiency Programs and Benchmarking Data are more than a dozen charts and graphs providing details -- by utility type and NERC location -- on the MWh savings that the top 10%, top 15%, and top 25% of performers achieve.

“Energy bind, but no cardigan-sweater ethic”
Christian Science Monitor
May 27, 2004 edition

By Kris Axtman Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

US is far more efficient than in ‘70s - but also more determined to consume.

HOUSTON - Reminiscent of the 1970s, the line of cars stretched down the street at a west side gas station last week. Customers were waiting for 10 free gallons, compliments of a local radio station.

Because the promotion would go to the first 200 cars only, people began queuing up at 9 the night before. One woman burned up an entire tank of gas waiting for a free half tank. “People are confused about why prices are rising so rapidly,” says Tim Sutherland of KHMX 96.5, the Houston station giving away 2,000 gallons of gas. “They say it’s absurd to be paying $2 a gallon for regular. But nobody wants to stop driving.”

Winner, Langdon.  Energy Regimes and The Ideology of Efficiency
Beverly Hills: 1982

Page 265

To be taken seriously in energy policy deliberations, therefore, every concerned person must first bow down before the altar. One must swear to God and country that what ultimately matters are questions of efficiency. Something resembling an oath is taken that pledges one to examine all possible alternatives to discover those which give the most energy per dollar. It is possible to fiddle a bit with the specific definition of efficiency one employs. Some hope to modify the ritual by arguing that we must first identify and measure the end uses to which energy is put. But suggestions of that kind, as helpful as they are in certain respects, do nothing to change the fundamental nature of the discussion. One still puts Btus or Kilowatt-hours in the numerator and dollars in the denominator and worships the resulting ratio as gospel.

Sharon Beder, Power Play
New York
The New Press, 2003
ISBN 156584808X

Page 1

ELECTRICITY RATIONING IN BRAZIL ... Blackouts from California and New York to South Australia and Buenos Aires ... Mass protests in India, Africa, and across Latin America. Enron, the seventh-largest company in America, goes bankrupt ... And in Auckland, New Zealand, the central business district goes without power for weeks. Welcome to the brave new world of electricity deregulation and privatisation.

Dozens of governments have embarked on the pathway to electricity deregulation and privatisation since the mid-1990s.2 It is referred to as `liberalisation' by its advocates, who use the term to disguise what is in essence a massive shift of ownership and control of electricity from public to private hands, in the name of economic efficiency and in the cause of private profits.

Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams
New York: 1918

Page 354

To him, the dynamo itself was but an ingenious channel for conveying somewhere the heat latent in a few tons of poor coal hidden in a dirty engine-house carefully kept out of sight; but to Adams the dynamo became a symbol of infinity. As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines, he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force, much as the early Christians felt the Cross. The planet itself seemed less impressive, in its old-fashioned, deliberate, annual or daily revolution, than this huge wheel, revolving within arm’s length at some vertiginous speed, and barely murmuring—scarcely humming an audible warning to stand a hair’s-breadth further for respect of power—while it would not wake the baby lying close against its frame. Before the end, one began to pray to it; inherited instinct taught the natural expression of man before silent and infinite force. Among the thousand symbols of ultimate energy, the dynamo was not so human as some, but it was the most expressive.

Drexel Insulation Newsletter. Volume 16 #6. Nov/Dec 1998

A major reason, however, is the so-called “take-back effect.” Occupants believe that after retrofitting they have an energy-efficient home, and they can now be less concerned about saving energy. For instance, they open windows more frequently and for longer periods of time or they raise their thermostat setting in the winter and lower it in the summer.

The latter is what is found most frequently. For instance, in the Northgate Apartments in Burlington, VT the low-income occupants kept their apartment at 14.5 0 C - 15.5 0 C (58-60 F) in order to keep their high utility bills within bounds.

Winner, Langdon. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology
University of Chicago Press, 1986
ISBN 0226902110

Pages 53-4

As the Ford Foundation’s Nuclear Energy Policy Study Group explained: “When analyzing energy, one must first decide whether ordinary rules of economics can be applied.” The group decided that, yes, energy should be considered “an economic variable, rather than something requiring special analysis. After that decision had been made, of course, the rest was simply a matter of putting Btus or kilowatt-hours in the numerator and dollars in the denominator and worshipping the resulting ratio as gospel.

Even those who held unorthodox viewpoints in this debate found it necessary to uphold the supreme importance of this criterion. Thus, Amory B. Lovins, a leading proponent of soft energy paths, wrote of this method: “While not under the illusion that facts are separable from values, I have tried ... to separate my personal preferences from my analytic assumptions and to rely not on modes of discourse that might be viewed as overtly ideological, but rather on classicial arguments of economic and engineering efficiency (which are only tacitly ideological).”

Nye, David E.  Consuming Power
United States: 1998
ISBN 0262140632

Page 198

Efficiency improved greatly. Between 1920 and 1959 the coal needed to produce a kilowatt-hour declined by 70 percent, which made possible price reductions. While consumers increased their use of electricity by 500 percent, their costs rose only 150 percent.

“Forecasting Follies.” Power Engineering June 1998
Page 76

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

Watkins-Miller, Elaine. “Mobil Corp. Fuels Energy Efficiency.”
Buildings magazine
November 1998

Page 88

Early successes have fueled a pervasive enthusiasm for voluntary energy-efficiency activities at Fairfax, VA-based Mobil Corp. The company’s energy programs from 1995 through 1997 alone have resulted in savings of $77.1 million. About $20 million more is expected this year. In 1992, the company joined the EPA’s Green Lights Program.

Gersh, Jeff.  “Capitalism Goes Green?”
The Amicus Journal
Spring 1999

Page 38

Between 1979 and 1995, according to the San Francisco-based think tank Redefining Progress, the manufacturing labor force in the United States shrank by 12 percent—even as manufacturing output rose a startling 43 percent. Interestingly, industrial energy use rose by nearly the same percentage as the labor force declined. And industrial and commercial energy use as a whole has gone up 37 percent since 1983.

Frankel, Carl.  In Earth's Company
Gabriola Island, BC VOR 1XO
ISBN 0865713804

Page XIV

Efficiency is one of the hallmarks of the well-run business, and the gratuitous exploitation of natural resources is wildly inefficient. The modern industrial system is no more than one percent efficient when all material and energy inputs are considered.

Given that industrial growth further removes the capacity of the Earth to support human welfare, future economic progress must be measured by a different relationship, the pursuit of resource productivity as opposed to labor productivity.

Shuman, Michael. Going Local
New York: 1998
ISBN 0684830124

Page 49

A guaranteed way to ensure that a car does not pollute is to stick the exhaust pipe into the passenger section. Similarly, a community committed to self-reliance will be mindful not to foul its own nest.