Our homes, businesses, schools and governments collectively consume more than 70 percent of the natural gas and electricity generated in the country. Improving energy efficiency in these areas is one of the most constructive, cost-effective ways to address the challenges of high energy prices, energy security and independence, air pollution, and global climate change.
The 1973 oil embargo and succeeding energy crisis led people to think differently about how the United States uses energy. It exposed the country to global vulnerability because of unstable energy supplies and, combined with other factors, ushered in a period of high inflation. During this time, prices of energy and various material commodities rose greatly, which triggered fears that an era of resource scarcity with economic, political, and security stresses had begun.