For many people, the idea of energy efficiency might be some faraway, abstract one – something that the country has been slowly building toward over the last several years, but still a long way off from being fully achieved. But looking at all the available information we may be living in this future of sustainability right now.
Citing data from the U.S. Department of Energy, news outlet Greentech Media breaks down three of the major categories in which Americans are currently seeing the strongest growth in eco-friendly living:
- LED lights: Energy efficient LED bulbs are moving quickly to overtake incandescent light bulbs, thanks to an annual 25 percent drop in production costs. To date, 20 million LED bulbs have been distributed throughout the country, with 35 percent of all U.S. homes featuring at least one LED light. Analysts believe LEDs could account for 80 percent of all new lighting in the country by 2020.
- Solar: In 2006, a new solar panel array was installed somewhere in the country every 80 minutes. Now, it occurs every four minutes. This drop has been made possible thanks to a 26.6 decline in prices, making solar panels now priced at 1 percent of their cost from 35 years ago.
- Wind: In the last 14 years, the electrical output of the average wind turbine has grown by a staggering 260 percent. Last year, wind power accounted for the largest new source of energy capacity in the country, even more so than natural gas. While prices for these turbines have gone up recently, the cost of the energy they generate has dropped to 5 cents for every kilowatt-hour. This is a 90 percent decline from wind power costs in the 1980s.
Virginia homeowners looking to jump on this bandwagon should make an appointment with local Virginia home inspectors about how efficient their houses already are and how to make them even more environmentally-friendly.