Energy conservation is the cheapest solution
Climate change is a huge problem and it has to be solved fast if we want to prevent the worst from occurring. Meanwhile, the current economic downturn makes it hard to implement costly and high tech solutions.
Three different studies point to the same conclusion: energy conservation is the cheapest solution to decrease our greenhouse gases emissions. As a matter of fact, it could enable us to save a lot of money.
One could imagine that the savings brought by such projects could finance more expansive ones like solar, wind or nuclear plants.
Not insulated houses like the one above – blue means less heat losses, red and white the most – can cut their energy consumption and start saving now.
The first one was already the subject of a previous post. Indeed, McKinsey noted that energy efficiency could account for 14 gigatons of CO2 (GtCO2) equivalent per year by 2030.
This would take place in all sectors: from consumer electronics, to insulating buildings and improving transportation and would represent more than a third of possible actions. The Wall Street Journal did a most interesting graphic with the presented data:
That’s right: insulating buildings can save up to $40 per year for each ton of carbon dioxide ! Industry and transport could save $10 per ton per year.
The Spiegel brought us further details as I noted on A climate change mitigation paradox :
And now, something new: the Scientific American published a study on the various energy sources stating that geothermal could compete with coal on prices !
In each of these three tables, efficiency and conservation are the cheapest way. One could imagine that the savings brought by such projects could finance the more expansive like solar, wind or nuclear.
Last but not least, the National Geographic published a huge article on energy conservation that I strongly recommend.
Image credit and explanation:
Thermographic photography offers clues to where energy is being wasted in this older house in Connecticut. Red and yellow patches indicate escaping heat, while new double-pane windows appear cool blue. By sealing in warmth, the windows cut heating costs, which can account for up to half a family’s energy bill. (illustation of the National Geographic article)