Efficient energy use and energy conservation is referred to as energy efficiency. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy.
Efforts in this field chiefly concentrate upon developing energy efficient technologies for 1) buildings and homes 2) industry – industrial processes, power systems/ utilities 3) transportation. Opportunities may arise in the areas of HVAC, energy efficient materials, energy management software’s and wireless energy management.
According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the world's energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help address the problems of pollution, global warming, energy security, and fossil fuel depletion.
There are various motivations to improve energy efficiency.
- Reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, cut fuel costs, increase competitiveness and improve consumer welfare.
- Environmental benefits can also be achieved by the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and local air pollution.
- Energy security can also profit from improved energy efficiency by decreasing the reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Energy efficiency in buildings
Buildings are responsible for at least 40% of energy use in most countries. Increased service demand- more air conditioning, more computers, larger houses etc contributes to the rising figure.
For example, in the US, residential and commercial buildings account for about one-third of US energy consumption, at an annual cost of $170 billion. Using commercially available cost effective technologies, building energy consumption can be reduced up to one-third by 2015. The untapped potential for improved energy efficiency in buildings is significant.
Much building energy is wasted because of poor design, inadequate technology and inappropriate behaviors. Businesses need to apply expertise and finance to develop and promote new approaches to energy efficiency, but transformation will not be achieved through the market alone. Suppliers and manufacturers, utilities, investors, developers, occupiers, government authorities all play a major role.
Green buildings are one of the emerging concepts in buildings. A green building is one which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.
There are three main approaches to energy neutrality in buildings, such as
- Cut buildings’ energy demand – Using insulation and equipment that are more energy efficient
- Produce energy locally – From renewable and otherwise wasted energy resources
- Share energy – Create buildings that can generate surplus energy and feed it into an intelligent grid infrastructure
Energy efficiency in industry
Industries account for approximately 43 per cent of global energy end use. Energy use in the industrial sector is dominated by the industrialized countries, which account for about 45 per cent of world industrial energy use. Developing countries and countries with economies in transition use approximately 32 per cent and 23 per cent of world industrial energy respectively.
Energy efficiency measures may be implemented either as "efficiency retrofits", in which existing installations are improved through replacement with energy efficient components. Alternatively, energy efficiency investments can occur at the design and planning stage of new plants. At these stages the choice and installation of energy efficient technologies is an option for investors.
The fact that huge potentials for energy efficiency improvements exist but remain unused obviously indicates that there are barriers to the implementation of such measures.
The two major types of barriers include those that are related to or have a bearing on the assessed profitability of an investment, and other barriers, which may include barriers of a more of psychological type.
Energy efficiency in transportation
The transportation sector accounts for 22 percent of global energy use and 27 percent of global carbon emissions. In the major energy-using industrialized countries (specifically the 11 highest energy using IEA countries), nearly all (96%) of transportation energy comes from petroleum fuels, such as gasoline (47%) and diesel (31%). Road vehicles account for about three-quarters of all transportation energy use; roughly two-thirds of transport energy is used for passenger mobility while one-third is used to move freight (Price and others, 2006). Light vehicles represent the largest portion of the world transport energy use (44.5%) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
In 2004, the transport sector produced 6.3 GtCO2 emissions (23% of world energy-related CO2 emissions) and its growth rate is highest among the end-user sectors. Road transport currently accounts for 74% of total transport CO2 emissions. Moreover, transport activity is expected to grow robustly over the next several decades. Unless there is a major shift away from current patterns of energy use, total transport energy use and carbon emissions is projected to be about 80% higher than current levels by 2030.
Improving energy efficiency offers an excellent opportunity for transport CO2 emission mitigation through 2030. Carbon emissions from new light-duty road vehicles could be reduced by up to 50% by 2030 compared to currently produced models, assuming continued technological advances and strong policies to ensure that technologies are applied to increasing fuel economy. There are also important opportunities to increase the operating efficiencies of light vehicles. For the new vehicles, energy efficiency can be increased through technology development, however, for the whole fleet, some operational measures, such as transport demand management (TDM), eco-driving, among other alternatives are needed. In addition, it is also necessary that the costumers should take energy efficiency into consideration when buying and operating their vehicles.
An accurate evaluation of the potential mitigation of GHG emissions by the transport sector, especially in developing countries, is hampered by the small number of studies in this area, and the limited scope of the studies that have been published.
Policymakers must give importance to energy efficiency in formulating public policies, mainly in developing countries, where the increasing demand for private vehicles is outpacing the supply of transport infrastructure.
- Clean Technology Verticals
- Energy Generation
- Solar Energy
- Wind Energy
- Hydro Energy
- Bio-based Energy
- Geothermal Energy
- Ocean Energy
- Hydrogen Energy
- Waste to Energy
- Clean Coal
- Natural Gas
- Nuclear Energy
- Coal Energy
- Energy Infrastructure and Carriers
- Energy Storage
- Air & Environment Management
- Water and Waste water Management
- Sustainable Materials
- Sustainability Production/Manufacturing
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Sustainable Transportation
- Recycling Waste Management
- Sustainable Life Style