Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses whose mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Recently, the association released a report that details 40 existing technologies that can be used to reduce electricity consumption. We would like to highlight three of these technologies.
1. Efficient Lighting and Lighting Controls
Advanced lighting technology has expanded to include light-emitting diodes (LEDs), energy-saving incandescent bulbs, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Solid-state lighting, including LEDs, is in the process of transforming the lighting and electronic display markets, offering mercury-free, efficient and digitally controllable lighting that can be used in residential and commercial settings. Solid-state lighting is five to six times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and up to 1.5 times as efficient as CFLs. Intelligent lighting controls can be used in conjunction with some forms of efficient lighting, particularly LEDs, which can be dimmed or turned on/off without loss of equipment lifespan or performance. Intelligent lighting controls use environmental information (e.g., occupancy, ambient light levels) to automatically adjust light levels and save energy.
2. Advanced Metering Infrastructure
A smart meter is an electrical device that records consumption of electricity in time intervals of an hour or less, typically 15 minutes. The meter communicates this information to utilities and third parties for monitoring and billing purposes, typically over a secure communication network. It is also possible to engage two-way communication with smart meters, allowing utilities/third parties to relay detailed energy usage information back to the customer, enabling more proactive end-user energy management and resulting in overall lower electricity consumption.
3. Efficient Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
HVAC systems consist of air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, rooftop units, and chillers, as well as associated air handlers, ductwork, and water and steam piping. HVAC systems represent a significant portion of a building’s overall energy use. Unfortunately, HVAC systems are major capital items and have long service lives (20 to 40 years), which can slow the deployment of high-efficiency alternatives. That said, the International Energy Agency estimated that replacement of inefficient HVAC systems could reduce global CO2 emissions by as much as 2 gigatons by 2050, representing a 25% reduction in current building emissions.