New technology saves money
Despite a bleak 2020 on many fronts, the promise of greater energy efficiency continues to be realized through investments in new technologies by the U.S. Department of Energy. From January 2020 through November 2020, DOE announced 29 new investments through research and development grants related to commercial and residential buildings, the grid, windows, lighting, solar and other technologies, all aimed at improving efficiency.
What does this have to do with you? The LED light bulbs we use, the electric and hybrid vehicles we drive, the wind turbines and solar panels that supplement coal-generated electricity and the smart thermostats that control temperature settings that we now take for granted weren’t created with the snap of a finger. They emerged from decades of R&D funded in part by DOE.
Here’s just one example of current R&D. Residential and commercial buildings consume 75 percent of U.S. electricity, especially during peak periods. DOE’s Grid-interactive Buildings Initiative seeks to learn how buildings linked to one another can use the grid, Internet and new technology for optimum energy use to enhance energy efficiency and grid flexibility and resilience. That kind of research will produce new technologies, tools and best practices that filter down to people like us.
Initially, new products are expensive. But as has been the case with compact fluorescent light bulbs and more recently LEDs, prices drop rapidly as more people buy the products and manufacturers respond.
Even if you’re not an early adopter, innovative, more energy-efficient technology will eventually reach your home. Embrace the new and get more from your energy dollars.