Energy efficient technologies played a key but unrecognized role in satisfying surging US energy demands during the past 40 years. That’s the conclusion of a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which shows US energy consumption–as measured per dollar of economic output—will fall to about half of what it was in 1970 by the end of 2008, from 18,000 Btus to about 8,900 Btus.

The ACEEE report, The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture, further suggests the US can cost-effectively reduce energy consumption by an additional 25% to 30% or more in the next 20 to 25 years. The report was prepared with support from the Civil Society Institute along with the Kendall Foundation and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Describing the contributions of efficiency as “often unnoticed” and “invisible,” the report notes that the “nation is not aware of the role that energy efficiency has played in satisfying our growing energy-service demands.” Since 1970, energy efficiency has met about three-fourths of the demand for new energy-related services while conventional energy supply has covered only one-fourth of this demand.

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