Energy efficiency is the use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. Improving energy efficiency has proven to be the most cost-effective strategy for increasing energy security and reducing energy consumption. The best way to increase energy efficiency is through technology advancement rather than by changes in individual behavior.
Over the past 40 years, companies and governments have worked on developing more efficient appliances, energy-using devices, materials, and policies that encourage the use of energy efficient technologies. While many of these advancements have significantly increased the overall efficiency of energy use in the United States, they still have not been able to overcome the increasing proliferation of energy-using devices, increasing population, and economic growth. Therefore, as energy demand continues to grow, researchers and scientists will need to continue to improve upon the efficiency of energy using devices in order to aid in reduced energy consumption without sacrificing function.
The USCEI has some exciting research activities in lighting, efficient buildings, sustainable planning, smart gird and energy-water relationships that focus on reducing energy demands and improving energy efficiency.