News FocusEnergy Efficiency

Leaping the Efficiency Gap

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Science  14 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5942, pp. 804-811
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_804

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Efficiency is at the heart of the Obama Administration's energy strategy. Tighter appliance standards are on a fast track through the Department of Energy bureaucracy. Billions of dollars from the stimulus package are pouring into programs to weatherize and retrofit homes with energy-saving technology, investments that quickly pay for themselves in lower energy bills. But meeting the more ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require more aggressive measures that cause some economic pain. The biggest challenge is not inventing new technology but persuading more people to adopt technology and practices that already exist. A new generation of researchers and government officials is now examining new strategies for energy efficiency, looking for the key—or a whole ring of keys—that will unlock its full potential.