Energy efficiency could save U.S. $600 billion -McKinsey

The United States could save about $600 billion in energy costs by 2020 if it hiked annual efficiency spending about five-fold, business consultants McKinsey and Co said in a report on Wednesday.

Governments, businesses and the general public would have to boost annual spending on existing energy-saving measures, like insulating walls and more efficient appliances, from about $10 billion annually to $50 billion per year. The upfront costs would pay off by saving $1.2 trillion by 2020, according to the report called "Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy."

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The report, which did not look at energy used in transportation, said the savings would cut energy used for heating and to generate power about 23 percent.

It would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.1 gigatons annually -- or the equivalent of taking the entire fleet of U.S. vehicles off the road, the report said.

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