Energy efficiency and reduced consumption are not exclusive. But is it possible that we focus too much on the former and not enough on the latter?
To expand on my question, I live near a very wealthy area. People in this area will own electric cars, solar panels, energy efficient dishwashers, etc. At the same time, they own a huge house, with lots of stuff (electronics, furniture, additional vehicles, etc.), will take expensive vacations, etc. Many own second homes.
I don't have the numbers to back me up, but I can't help but wonder how much energy they consume. Sure, they will use less hot water because of their energy efficient dishwasher. But the energy that went into building, furnishing, and maintaining their extra large house can't be insignificant.
It's great to pat ourselves on the back when we reduce our electricity bill be $x/month, but does it really make a dent in reducing our energy footprint if we are consuming way too much?
Or am I just being pessimistic? Do the gains made from energy efficiency cars, appliances, houses, etc. outweigh the cost of our massive consumption?