Full Title: American Energy Productivity: The Economic, Environmental and Security Benefits of Unlocking Energy Efficiency
Author(s): Rhodium Group
Publisher(s): Alliance to Save Energy
Publication Date: 2/2013



Energy is essential to American economic success. Like capital, labor and land, energy is an economic input, or “factor of production,” that determines the speed and quality of economic growth.  Countries grow either through more economic input or by using that input more efficiently. For example, when the size of a country’s workforce grows, so does its economic potential. But it’s not actually the number of workers that matter from an economic standpoint so much as the amount of work they are able to perform collectively. So improvements in education and technology that make workers more productive grow the economy even if the size of the labor force remains the same.

The same is true with energy.  Whether heating homes, lighting office buildings, powering factories or moving goods and people, energy keeps a modern economy running. But it’s the services energy provides (lighting, heating, transportation) that are valuable rather than the energy itself (coal, oil, natural gas and electricity). Expanding energy supply makes energy services more available and affordable. But so do improvements in the efficiency of buildings, factories, vehicles and transportation systems.