A staggering figure on energy efficiency

You know it if you have read this blog for some time : energy efficiency is the single best solution to solve all our energy and climate problems. It can be used literally everywhere and in anything and save huge amounts of money.

Now, here comes Dr. Julian M Allwood from the University of Cambridge. His team and him found that “73% of global energy use could be saved through energy efficiency improvements.”

Albeit the figure is huge, this is no surprise as we already produce houses that use ten times less than old ones and as LED light bulbs consume ten times less than their incandescent ancestors.

Here is an interesting introduction to Dr. Allwood’s work :

Discussions about reducing greenhouse gas emissions usually concentrate on cleaner ways of generating energy: that’s because they promise that we can lower emissions without having to change our energy-hungry ways. But whereas new generation techniques take years to come on stream, efficiency can be improved today, with existing technologies and know-how.

To calculate how much energy could be saved through such improvements, Julian Allwood and colleagues at the University of Cambridge analysed the buildings, vehicles and industry around us and applied “best practice” efficiency changes to them.

Changes to homes and buildings included triple-glazing windows and installing 300-millimetre-thick cavity wall insulation, using saucepan lids when cooking on the stove top, eliminating hot-water tanks and reducing the set temperature of washing machines and dishwashers. In transportation, the weight of cars was limited to 300 kilograms.

They found that 73 per cent of global energy use could be saved by introducing such changes.

Many people are unaware of the scale of opportunities for reducing energy demand, says Allwood. By showing how global energy demand can fall to a quarter of its current level without any decline in services, the team hope to redress the balance.

“We think it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll find a good response to the threat of global warming on the supply side alone,” Allwood says. “But if we can make a serious reduction in our demand for energy, then all the options [for changing the energy supply] look more realistic.”

(…) “The emphasis on the importance of ‘passive systems’ strongly implies that conventional ideas about the energy system and energy policy need to be broadened to include the way energy is used, not just the way it is supplied and converted,” Eyre says.

I recently reviewed a great book on that very subject : Crossing the Energy Divide

Found via TreeHugger.

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