A commonly encountered myth is that using less energy will necessarily mean reducing our level of comfort or quality of life. This is simply true, because much of the energy consumption in the US today is wasted due to inefficient use, and does not actually contribute to our quality of life at all. People in many other countries that use less energy per person than the US enjoy a similar standard of living to ours: the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Italy are all very well-off countries which use much less energy on a per-person basis than does the US. Simply by reducing the amount of energy wasted by inefficient habits and delivery systems in our society, we can cut back on pollution without reducing our standard of living at all.
Just to build on what Nick was saying, according to nationmaster.com, the United States is by far the leaded in energy consumption, but we are no where near the largest nation (by population, or size) in the world. Many modern architects and green advocates are pushing towards active heating and cooling, which requires the residents of a houshold to adjust their house with the temperature, ie sliding walls, larger windows and various solar heating and cooling systems.
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