Responding to rising energy costs and the need to protect the environment, U.S. manufacturers have introduced a variety of innovative technologies, new business processes and enlightened management techniques to encourage greater efficiency in the industrial use of energy.
Over the past three decades, the energy efficiency of industry has improved remarkably. Energy intensity, the amount of energy it takes to produce $1 of goods, has been cut in half, from 30,000 BTU in 1970 to 15,600 in 2004.
Roughly half of the reduction in energy intensity can be attributed to energy-efficiency improvements — using less energy to do the same work. The rest is the result of structural changes in the economy, such as changes in the product mix and shifting of energy intensive product manufacture to offshore locations.