Power generation is one of the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., accounting for 28 percent of total CO2 emissions. The idea to reduce the use of fossil fuels, in favor of renewables, has therefore gained worldwide acceptance and attention. However, there is another way to reduce greenhouse gases, and that is to improve and regulate the demand and usage of energy…Energy efficiency has been called the “first fuel” because all countries can adopt energy-saving technologies that cut wastage, improve efficiency and that “generate” excess power. Prime examples of measures that make a difference include the adoption of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lights which are much more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs or replacement of old inefficient central heating boilers with modern fuel-efficient ones. The efficient use of energy in everyday activities, the IEA estimates, saved some 450 million metric tons of oil equivalent in 2015. These efficiency savings also cut world energy spending by at least $500 billion in the same year.
Measures to improve energy efficiency
Improving insulation, draught-proofing, installing double glazed windows and replacing old white goods appliances with modern energy-efficient ones are relatively inexpensive measures, but they yield impressive results. In Britain, for example, improvements in energy efficiency have saved the typical U.K. household around £290 per year since 2008. An even bigger game-changer will come from “programmable systems that can sense the need for current flows and system leaks from secretly energy-draining appliances,” predicts William R. William, CEO, Altresco Group. This technology will significantly cut background energy consumption of television sets, computers, radios and the increasing number of smart home devices.
Significant retrofitting of offices, hospitals, factories and commercial offices with energy efficient heating, lighting, ventilation and air-conditioning and white goods could lower power bills by up to 39 percent, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of these buildings. In addition, “exploitation of waste heat by its re-use for heat generation or cooling can add further energy efficiency savings since, according to the U.S.-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 66.5 percent of our energy usage is wasted” says Williams.