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Over the past 20 years, improvements in energy-management software have allowed U.S. industries to become more energy efficient, and in turn, more productive. These advancements in IT software, to name a few, allow manufacturers to tweak energy-intensive processes along the manufacturing production line, better regulate heating and cooling in data centers to reduce energy waste, and allow utilities to better match energy demand with power generation using “smart meters.”
From 1998 to 2014, as U.S. companies adopted these better information technologies for managing energy consumption, they managed to increase output by 16.5 percent for each unit of energy input. This trend of increased energy productivity is a departure from previous economic growth trends. In the 1960s and 1970s, every additional unit of output required an equal increase in energy input.