Smart Power: Why More Bytes Will Mean Fewer—and Cleaner—Electrons

Science & Space

Improving energy efficiency is the no-brainer, no loser environmental policy. By limiting wasted power, we reduce the number of power plants we need—and their consequent pollution—and we save money. It shouldn’t be surprising that when President Barack Obama went looking for a green policy that the entire nation could agree with during his state of the union speech, he settled on energy efficiency, challenging Americans to “cut half the energy waste by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.”

Cutting energy waste is a matter of better lights and better insulation, better heaters and better air conditioners. But first and foremost it’s a data challenge. You can’t cut waste until you know what you’re wasting—and most of us have only the slightest idea of the energy we’re using at home. (Even big electricity users in business often aren’t much better—or need to employ human managers to monitor that…

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