Reducing energy consumption By: Eduardo Salomon

Science and technology are developing faster and faster and helping us, humans, save and protect our world from more environmental problems we are causing. We have different research teams around the world coming up with innovative technologies and methods to make life on earth more sustainable. We have new things like producing energy from urine to products like the Coffee Joulies (“thermodynamic stones that capture excess heat and then slowly disseminate heat back”)[2]that help us save energy, but the real change has to come from within us, the human race.

 

It is really difficult to convince people to lower their energy consumption levels. Most of us do not know how much energy we are consuming in our day to day activities, also we do not specifically know what amount of energy each of our appliances use. Many different methods have been tested to make people more conscious about their energy consumption levels; but in my opinion, the best way to implement this change in someone is if the change comes from within them. The change has to come from within oneself for it to be a real and strong one.

 

To have an effective reduction of energy consumption levels over time the change has to be steady or incremental as time passes. For this to happen our subject has to compromise and start, passively and almost automatically, to change their behavior towards energy misuse. Having stated this, the change has to first be a psychological one so it then becomes a behavior one.

 

In the University of Kent, located at Canterbury (UK), a programmed called Integrated Persuasive Technology and Energy Delegate (IPTED) was implemented. This initiative consisted of a set of software and hardware introduced in sixteen different students’ residence houses (with 112 students each) with the purpose of reducing their energy consumption and CO2 emissions. A real-time system that measured the consumption of energy of the students was applied to the dorms, then energy saving delegates were appointed in eight of the residential houses and for the other eight residential homes, the students got weekly emails showing the energy consumption of the building. [1]

 

The study showed that in the eight residential halls where both the real-time feedback and the delegates were appointed the energy consumption went down by 37%, saving 1360.49kWh and 713.71kg of CO2. In the other hand, in the eight residence halls were only the real-time feedback and weekly emails were implemented the energy consumption only went down by 3.5%, saving 165kWh and 86.56kg of CO2. These results show us how important the human factor is in this equation: when we had the energy delegates we see how the savings were more than ten times of those were we did not have them. Peer social pressure can be key when promoting energy saving. [1]

 

Reducing energy consumption not only has a positive environmental effect but decreasing the energy consumption levels in a building also help with cost reduction; the less energy is consumed the less energy one has to pay. There are different ways to reduce the energy consumption, one way is by switching from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs. This change can help reduce energy consumption up to 75%. Turning off electronic appliances when not in use or simply by changing to more energy efficient devices can also reduce the consumption by a significant amount. Reducing the energy use levels is not a hard task and by everyone helping a little we can make a huge impact on our planet.

 

Environmental practices are gaining ground in people’s priorities, but there is still a long way to go. In my opinion, more social programs like this are the ones that have a positive and long-lasting effect on people. Changing people to become more environmental one by one can cause a great effect as a whole. Having people realize that we have to take better care of our environment is key for the human species to survive. The next step to achieve for environmentalist should be to spread the word and educate all the population on environmental issues and the importance of preserving our planet, both for the present and the future.

 

  • Emeakaroha, A., Ang, C., & Yan, Y. (2012). Challenges in Improving Energy Efficiency in a University Campus Through the Application of Persuasive Technology and Smart Sensors. Challenges,3(2). doi:10.3390/challe3020290
  • Freeman, K. (2012, February 15). 4 Unique Ways to Generate Renewable Energy. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from http://mashable.com/2012/02/15/renewable-energy-methods/#0XdqsOKrUEqO

 

 

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