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Amory Lovins: ‘Efficiency is cheaper than fuel’

Lovins says the technologies for creating and retrofitting factories, homes, and cars to use energy-efficient materials already exist.

Amory Lovins is chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy and resources think-tank. Lovins talked to EarthSky about saving energy… and saving money. When it comes to energy, he said, efficiency is cheaper than fuel.

Amory Lovins: Most of the energy we use in the United States and throughout the world is wasted by inefficient technology for turning energy into the services we want, like hot showers and cold beer.

Lovins pointed out the technologies for creating and retrofitting factories, homes, and cars to use energy-efficient materials already exist.

Amory Lovins: I think the big surprise is that the efficiency potential keeps getting bigger and cheaper, because the technology improves faster than we use them.

Lovins added that some companies have managed to cut their “energy intensity” – which he describes as the amount of energy used per dollar of output – by six to sixteen percent per year.

Amory Lovins: Everyone who saves energy makes money at it. In fact, it’s one of the biggest economic bonanzas out there. And if we’re looking for a stimulus package, let’s use energy in a way that saves money.

Lovins said saving energy also reduces our carbon emissions, and that’s good for the climate.

Amory Lovins: The biggest obstacle to protecting the climate is the assumption that it’s going to cost money. It’s actually very profitable because it’s cheaper to save energy than to buy it.

Our thanks to Amory Lovins
Amory Lovins is co-founder and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado. In 2009, Lovins was awarded TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people designation and National Design Awards’ “Design Mind” honor. He has lately led the redesign of over $30 billion in facilities in 29 sectors for radical energy and resource efficiency. He has briefed nineteen heads of state, held several visiting academic chairs (most recently the 2007 MAP/Ming Professorship at Stanford), written twenty-nine books and hundreds of papers, and consulted for scores of industries and governments worldwide.

Lindsay Patterson

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