The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

Understanding Efficiency

Every time energy changes forms, some portion is "lost." With each change some amount of the original energy turns into heat.

The Promise Of Better Lighting

LED lighting offers greater energy efficiency, longer lamp life, and exceptional control over the color and hue of emitted light compared to older lighting technology. Learn more.

Explore Emerging Technologies

An increasing share of future needs will be met by technologies now in the research or development stage.

Consider Environmental Impact

Many of the world’s poorest people, who lack the resources to respond to the impacts of climate change, are likely to suffer the most.

Our Energy System

Explore the usages of primary energy sources throughout the United States.

Learn about Electric Cars

Today's best-performing all-electric vehicles can travel up to 300 miles emissions-free on a single battery charge.

The future of American society and its unprecedented standard of living depend, to a large degree, on how we use energy. The energy choices we make shape not only our quality of life, but the health of the environment, how we work and play, the strength of our economy, and our national security. Sound decisions by individuals, communities, and the nation depend on trustworthy and objective energy information. To help fill that need, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide this energy primer.


Discover how the strength of American industry, speed of transportation, and countless modern conveniences all come from our ingenious use of energy.


The United States depends on a variety of energy sources. What advantages and challenges does each one present to our nation and its people?


Learn about the costs of our high standard of living—to the environment, to our national security, and to irreplaceable resources.


Increasing supply isn’t the only answer to a stable energy future. Discover how reducing demand through improved efficiency achieves the same effect.

Explore Other Topics

Energy Defined

Photovoltaic (PV) Cell

Sometimes referred to as a solar cell, a device that utilizes the photoelectric effect to convert incident sunlight directly into electricity. This can be distinguished from solar thermal energy, which is sometimes used to create electricity indirectly.

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