Energy experts believe U.S. natural gas consumption will be 5-10% lower and electric power consumption will be 5-15% lower in 2020 than they would have been without energy efficiency programs, according to the results of a survey released Monday by The Brattle Group.
Some areas, including New England and the Mid-Atlantic, could see reductions of as much as 12% in natural gas use due to energy efficiency improvements that began in the 1990s, while other regions may see savings of less than 1%, according to the survey of 50 academics, consultants, utilities, regulators, consumer activists and environmentalists.
“The survey clearly shows that the age of energy efficiency has not come to an end,” said Ahmad Faruqui, one of the study’s authors. “On the contrary, the survey heralds a period of acceleration for energy efficiency.”
The reductions are being driven by a number of factors, including longstanding policy drivers such as rising fuel and capital costs, rapid advances in appliance and building technology, brought on partly by government mandates and partly by competitive economics, and cultural shifts in American values that encourage behavioral change, according to the Boston-based consultant.
Survey questions on natural gas energy efficiency were asked relative to each respondent’s baseline forecast for gas use in the future, which was assumed to include growth in overall natural gas consumption and reductions in electricity use due to building codes, appliance standards and naturally occurring efficiency, the researchers said.
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