Solving National Challenges
Energy efficiency is our country's greatest renewable resource. It is underappreciated, underutilized and often misunderstood, but it presents a unique opportunity to make our energy dollars go much further, while reducing adverse impacts on our climate. It’s not just the family budget or business bottom lines at stake: the consequences of our energy policies could affect Americans’ quality of life and the health of our planet for years to come.
Information and communications technologies (ICT) have significant experience doing more with less. And ICT is driving increased energy efficiency—fast. In a landmark study, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that "for every extra kilowatt-hour of electricity that has been demanded by ICT technologies, the U.S. economy increased its overall energy savings by a factor of about 10." From teleworking to traffic management, from virtualization to computer-aided design and manufacture of advanced composite materials, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman correctly observes that "you can't make a product greener—whether it's a car, a refrigerator or a traffic system—without making it smarter."
The ICT industry is investing billions of dollars to research, develop and market advanced, energy-efficiency technologies and business process solutions, creating thousands of new, high paying jobs in a fast-growing part of the industry. And the smarter systems they are creating already are yielding tremendous benefits for the environment, consumers, and the economy.
Smart technologies are the "brain power" that enable many industries—including transportation, utilities, manufacturing, health care, finance, retail and education, among many others— to reduce their energy and fuel consumption and lessen their impact on the environment. The ICT industry is not just getting smarter, it's getting greener.