In the simplified look at energy use in the United States below, resources enter the system at the left. Renewables, nuclear power, coal, and some natural gas generate electricity, which then powers buildings and industrial processes. Natural gas is used in buildings and industry for heating, cooling, and cooking. Petroleum primarily powers the transportation system: cars, buses, planes.
Energy is wasted when resources are converted to electricity and when it’s used in buildings, industry, and transportation. Currently, less than half of the country’s energy actually produces useful work like lighting and heating your home or powering your car. The rest—57 percent—is wasted.
Increasing efficiency in the energy system would be like turning that wasted energy into useful energy.
ILLUSTRATION BY: Curtis Whaley (Tablet Infographics)