Wasted Energy in the U.S. Could Power Entire Countries

The electrical power wasted by equipment known as miscellaneous energy loads (MEL) in the United States is enough to provide the power needs of nations like New Zealand, Mexico and even Australia, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Those two billion devices, which do not fit into traditional energy-use categories such as refrigeration, HVAC or lighting, could be made to use 40 to 50 percent less energy by upgrading their technology.

The people at Nextek Power Systems hasten to add that powering most of these devices from a DC power system that is up to 8 percent more efficient than AC grid power, would make that goal much more easily achievable, and improve the power savings to well past the 50 percent mark. As much as 80 percent of electronic devices in the U.S. now run semiconductors (which only use DC power), making the strategy much more attractive, since DC systems also save 10 to 30 percent of the power lost to heat through conversion from AC.

The ACEEE’s full report can be downloaded for free at http://aceee.org/research-report/a133.