United States energy consumption has remained essentially constant at about 80 exajoules/year (75 quads/year) since the oil embargo of 1973–1974, while the GNP in constant dollars has increased by about 30%. This article will discuss the physics behind some of these improvements in end-use efficiency in such areas as: (i) buildings (scaling laws, "free-heat,'' superinsulated houses, thermal storage in large buildings, off-peak cooling), (ii) solar energy (passive, photovoltaics), (iii) utility load management ("smart meters,'' capital recovery fees, voltage control), (iv) appliances (life-cycle costs, refrigerators), and (v) lighting (isotopic enhancement).



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