Saving Energy Saves Lands

Monitoring the settings of your thermostat and using less energy can help reduce the demand for energy development on our public lands.
Photo by NREL
Energy conservation and energy efficiency are critical strategies for reducing energy demands and the need for new dirty fossil-fueled power plants and renewable energy projects.

Improving how we use energy and reducing energy wasted on inefficient appliances can curb energy development sprawl and protect our natural resources, including wild places.

Based on a government study, nearly 50 million acres, or an area about the size of Nebraska, will be consumed by energy development by 2030. By managing energy demand, conservation and efficiency, we can limit adverse impacts on our wild places by reducing the need for new power plants and power lines.

Reducing our energy needs offers many benefits in addition to limiting impacts on wildlife and wild places:

  • National appliance and equipment efficiency standards generated about 340,000 jobs through 2010. By 2030, they are expected to save $68 billion a year and create an additional 40,000 new jobs.
  • Saving energy through greater efficiency can avoid the need for a new power plant and protect more wild places. Not building a 1,000-megawatt coal fired power plant saves about 23,500 acres from development, including the plant footprint and associated mining, waste disposal, power lines and rail spurs.
  • Energy efficiency saves you money. In  the past 35 years, California’s landmark energy efficiency programs have reduced personal electricity use by 40 percent below the national average and resulted in $56 billion in household energy savings. By allowing expenditures to be redirected toward other goals and services, energy efficiency helped create 1.5 million jobs with a total payroll of $45 billion.
  • Energy efficiency and conservation can reduce fossil fuel pollutants that affect public health and valuable natural resources. One coal facility can emit over 600,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 200,000 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and three tons of mercury, contributing to acid rain and public health problems like respiratory illness.

Saving energy is a no regrets, least cost solution to address America’s energy needs, create jobs and protect landscapes.

Helpful links

  • DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Page:

www.eere.energy.gov/

  • Alliance to Save Energy: 

ase.org/

  • American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy:

www.aceee.org/

  • Energy Smart Solutions:

www.pecva.org/index.php/our-mission/energy-solutions/energy-efficiency-a-conservation

  • National Academies of Science:

image.newsletters.nas.edu/lib/feed1279776d0c/d/1/AEF_ExecSum.pdf 

  • McKinsey & Company study:

www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/electricpowernaturalgas/US_energy_efficiency/