Electric windmills on a hill in California
Electric windmills on a hill in California - 
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Bob Moon: Speaking of appliances, apparently all those energy-efficient gizmos are adding up. There's a report out today that calls energy efficiency the "farthest-reaching, least-polluting, and fastest-growing energy success story of the last 50 years." From the Sustainability Desk, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: The report found it takes half as much energy today to create one dollar of economic output as it did in the 1970's. The energy savings in 2004 alone were enough to run 40 mid-sized coal or nuclear power plants.

Study co-author Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez is with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy:

Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez: Energy efficiency is a way to reduce our impact on the environment, and we can also save ourselves a lot of money.

She says squeezing more out of existing energy resources buys time to develop cleaner technologies.

Ehrhardt-Martinez: What we're recommending is that we shift our focus from "How do we increase energy supply?" to "How do we increase energy efficiency?"

The study estimates new efficiencies could cut U.S. energy consumption 25 percent in the next 25 years.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.