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IEEE-USA position encourages energy efficiency to save households money, reduce carbon emissions

WASHINGTON (2 July 2008) -- There's little the average person can do to stem the rising cost of gasoline, electricity, natural gas and other energy sources. But by improving our energy efficiency at home, on the road and at work, we can use less energy and save money.

IEEE-USA, in an "Energy Efficiency" position adopted on 20 June, says that, "Through energy efficiency improvements, the United States can reduce energy costs; reduce the depletion of fuel resources; increase energy security; enhance international competitiveness, reduce environmental impacts and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

To that end, IEEE-USA encourages the federal government to adopt the following policies, among others, that facilitate energy efficiency by:

  • Developing technologies to further reduce energy losses in electric power generation, transmission and distribution
  • Developing, commercializing and using more efficient electric-drive transportation technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • Improving and upgrading transportation systems to reduce energy consumption, and adopting "smart growth" policies that reduce distances traveled
  • Using communications and information technologies, such as teleconferencing and the Internet, to reduce the need for business travel, such as in telecommuting

Power electronics, which is essential for converting and controlling electric power at high efficiency, can, according to IEEE-USA, save 15 percent of U.S electric grid energy. One of the easiest things the organization recommends is for each household to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy says that Energy Star-qualified CFLs "use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer." Over each bulb's lifetime, this saves at least $30 in electricity costs.

Further, if every home in America had at least one such CFL, it would save our nation "more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars." See

Continued research and development into transportation systems can also play a key role in enhanced energy efficiency. This includes the development and deployment of electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles; fuel-efficiency improvements in trucks, trains, aircraft and passenger cars; and greater use of public transit.

Communication systems advances, coupled with high-speed Internet access, can greatly reduce the energy consumed in business travel and save companies millions in travel costs.

BusinessWeek, in a 22 May article, "The Waning Days of the Road Warrior," said, "Videoconferencing, Web-enabled meetings, online collaboration tools -- all are giving workers the ability to dart around the globe from their desk chairs." The publication also reports that flying less is a great way for companies "to cut their carbon footprint." See

IEEE-USA's "Energy Efficiency" position statement, developed by its Energy Policy Committee, is available at


Contact: Chris McManes

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