A new era of energy frugality is taking hold in the US, even
as the economy slowly recovers, according to a survey from the
Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.
Businesses are forging the way by targeting average
reductions in energy consumption of nearly 25% over a three- to
four-year period. Consumers are also doubling down on
efficiency; 83% report that they took extra steps to reduce
their electric bill over the past year and 93% say they will
use the same amount of electricity or less in the future.
The recession is profoundly changing energy habits for
both businesses and consumers, said Greg Aliff, one of
the surveys authors and a vice chairman in the energy and
resources sector at Deloitte. Using less may be the new
normal, from boardroom tables to the kitchen tables.
The annual survey, reSources 2012, found that
nine out of 10 companies have set goals regarding electricity
usage and energy management practices, with 66% identifying
cost-cutting as their primary motivation.
Moreover, the survey indicates that 85% of businesses view
reducing electricity costs as essential to staying financially
competitive, a 9% jump from 2011. In addition, 81% view
reducing electricity costs as essential to their image, 11
percentage points over last year.
Marlene Motyka, a US alternative energy leader at Deloitte,
says new energy goals are not just corporate window dressing;
they are linked to the bottom line. Companies are making
significant energy-efficiency progress, reporting that they
have achieved about 60% of their targets for energy savings
when it comes to electricity, natural
gas, carbon footprint and transport fleets, she
It is going to get tougher, though, noted Ms. Motyka.
Well over half [62%] of companies report that their
energy management goals were somewhat difficult to achieve.
Moreover, 21% say their energy management goals were very or
extremely difficult to achieve compared to 13% in the 2011
survey. The low-hanging fruit may have already been picked when
it comes to energy efficiency.
Seeking energy reduction
Nearly 61% of consumers believe that going through the
recession has ultimately been good because it makes them more
efficient and reminds them what is important. In contrast, last
year, only 49% of respondents felt that way.
Here are some additional interesting findings from the
- Consumers see turning off the lights (cited by 56% of
respondents), shutting down electronics when they are not in
use (48%), and adjusting thermostats by a few degrees (41%)
as among the top five most important actions they could do to
save electricity in the future
- 35% of respondents saw replacing old appliances with new,
more energy efficient ones as among the top five actions they
- 20% cited using a smart power strip that
senses when appliances are off and cuts phantom
New technologies are helping businesses and individuals make
smarter choices, according to Dr. Joseph Stanislaw, an
independent senior advisor to Deloitte LLP. Now they can
proactively manage their energy consumption and carbon
footprints with smart meters, smart appliances and demand
management programs, Stanislaw said.