ICT for Sustainability - The Challenge of Making It Real

John A. “Skip” Laitner 

Thursday, February 14








The Economic Imperative of ICT

The productivity of global economy is lagging. Big time. A major reason is the huge constraint imposed by the inefficient use of energy. In the U.S. we waste 86 percent of all the energy consumed within the economic process. That magnitude of waste imposes a very large cost on all economic activity. If we are to regain momentum, and if we are to building long-term sustainability, then we must tackle the very large problem of our energy (in)efficiency. In effect, we need to look for ways that triple or quadruple our current level of 14 percent efficiency. The next generation of efficiency improvements will move away from device efficiency to system and infrastructure optimization. ICT will be the key to unlocking those future opportunities — especially as we look to develop a sustainable economy.




John A. “Skip” Laitner is the Director of Economic and Social Analysis for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). He previously served almost 10 years as a Senior Economist for Technology Policy for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but chose to leave the federal service in June 2006 to focus his research on developing a more robust technology and behavioral characterization of energy efficiency resources for use in energy and climate policy analyses and within economic policy models.


In 1998 Skip was awarded EPA’s Gold Medal for his work with a team of other EPA economists to evaluate the impact of different strategies that might assist in the implementation of greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies.  In 2003 the US Combined Heat and Power Association gave him an award to acknowledge his contributions to the policy development of that industry.  In 2004 his paper, “How Far Energy Efficiency?” catalyzed new research into the proper the characterization of efficiency as a long-term resource.


Author of more than 280 reports, journal articles, and book chapters, Skip has nearly 40 years of involvement in the environmental, energy and economic policy arenas.  His expertise includes benefit-cost assessments, behavioral assessments, resource costs and constraints, the macroeconomic impacts of climate and energy policy scenarios, and dataset and database development.  His most immediate research, building on the work of Robert U. Ayres and Benjamin Warr, is to examine the links between energy inefficiency and a productive economy.  In a new book chapter, Skip provides a time series dataset that suggests the United States may be only 14 percent energy efficient, and that it is this level of inefficiency which may constrain the future development of a more robust economy.


Skip has been invited to provide technical seminars in diverse places as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain.  His clients have ranged from the United Nations and the United Nations Foundation to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Argonne National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the University of Oregon, teaching graduate courses on the Economics of Technology.  Skip has a master’s degree in Resource Economics from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, OH.


Among Skip’s latest publications is a book he co-edited with colleague Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, People-Centered Initiatives for Increasing Energy Savings. Washington, DC: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.  See, www.aceee.org/node/9275.


John A. “Skip” Laitner

Director of Economic and Social Analysis

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

Washington, DC

o: (202) 507-4029

c: (571) 332-9434

email: jslaitnerataceeedotorg  (jslaitnerataceeedotorg)  



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