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April 14, 2010

Energy efficiency

As there was 40 years ago, there is a big move in the country now to become more energy efficient -- to get more energy output per barrel of oil or gallon of gas. Are we accomplishing this?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Well, yes and no. ... If you look at what I'll call standard household items -- heating and cooling, refrigeration, cooking, and lighting -- energy efficiency there has improved dramatically over the last 30 years.

"However energy usage in each household has gone up, because we keep adding new products -- products that weren't around 30 years ago; products like the microwave, the computer, TVs (and indeed flat screen TVs), and cell phones.

"So if you look at the average household today, they are actually using more electricity than they were 30 years ago even though they are using less for those sort of standard household items.

"The challenge is as we get new electronic gadgets and we want to use them, that is going to take more energy.

"My thought is that probably the next move toward energy efficiency will be for these new household items like flat screen TVs and cell phones. When we get those under control, then I think we'll really hit a good run in terms of reducing our energy in the household."

Posted by deeshore at April 14, 2010 08:31 AM