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Energy Conservation - Energy Conservation And Efficiency

btu million dollar services

Energy conservation is the efficient use of energy, without necessarily curtailing the services that energy provides. Conservation occurs when societies develop efficient technologies that reduce energy needs. Environmental concerns, such as acid rain and the potential for global warming, have increased public awareness about the importance of energy conservation.

Energy efficiency can be measured by two indicators. The first is energy consumption per person (per capita) per year. Annual per person energy consumption in the United States was 215 million Btu in 1949, it topped out at 360 million Btu in 1978 and 1979, dropped to 314 million Btu by 1983, and then slowly rose again until it reached 338 million Btu in 2003, which was 57% above the 1949 rate. (See Figure 9.1.)

The second indicator of efficiency is energy consumption per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a nation. When a country grows in its energy efficiency, it uses less energy to produce the same amount of goods and services. In 1949 nearly 19,600 Btu of energy were consumed for each dollar of GDP. (See Figure 9.2.) In 1970 about 17,990 Btu of energy were consumed per dollar, and 9,440 Btu were used per dollar in 2003.

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