Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Mitigation
Energy efficiency is a critical element of any attempt to reduce the impact of climate change on our planet. Using less energy for heating and cooling a building, or for industrial processes, is one of the most important steps we can take in this regard.
Industrial processes require large amounts of energy
In a nutshell, industrial processes require large amounts of thermal energy for energy efficiency. Hence, the best way to save the planet is to improve the energy intensity of production. This can be done via the plethora of options such as improving energy efficiency or switching to alternative sources of energy. The best time to make this happen is now.
However, the task is not as easy as it looks. It’s all about a balance between energy conservation and the resulting operational costs. For example, replacing coal with natural gas may be the most cost-effective solution. While this may be the case in some locations, it is not the only option. Similarly, locating a site with sufficient solar and wind power may be difficult to justify in certain regions. Lastly, the optimal location for any given facility is as much a matter of taste as it is of proximity. Ultimately, any solution is going to be a compromise on the part of both parties.
As such, the key is to select the ‘best’ option for your industry. As such, your company may want to consider the following: (a) a formal energy audit; (b) a review of your supplier’s products and services; (c) a thorough review of your own operations; (d) a brief review of the industry’s competition; and (e) a frank discussion about the challenges your company faces. Having a good plan in place will help you achieve your goals. Moreover, the rewards may be worth waiting for. From a business standpoint, there is always room for improvement. So, do what you deem appropriate, but don’t let the pessimists get in your way. Using energy efficiently is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps reduce the long term operating costs.
Buildings require large amounts of heat and mechanical power
Buildings are one of the largest energy users in the world. They account for about one third of global consumption and emissions. However, the data on building energy use is often incomplete. A comprehensive picture of buildings requires more than simply statistics.
This paper analyzes the energy use of buildings from a variety of viewpoints. It focuses on three factors that determine how much energy is consumed. These include energy services, fuel sources, and building typologies. In addition, the study discusses the challenges associated with obtaining reliable data.
Generally, the efficiency of a building can be measured by comparing its level of energy to other comparable equipment. Energy saving techniques reduce electricity consumption by 35-94% annually.
The energy required to run a building can be reduced by insulating it, installing passive measures, and adopting more efficient technology. Adding natural light is another effective way to reduce energy usage.
Many industrial processes require large amounts Energy Efficiency of mechanical and heat power. The rapid development of electrical power generation, transmission, and distribution has fueled the growth of the industry. But, the use of fossil fuels continues to be the dominant source of heat.
Electrical and mechanical installation is a major part of the construction process. Some of these systems include plumbing, ventilation, heating, and air-conditioning. Typical costs for these systems range from 10-15% of the cost of a new building.
Electricity prices are expected to rise in South Africa. Eskom, the country’s public power generating company, is responsible for supplying electricity to buildings.
In South Africa, power outages can cause inconveniences for residents and businesses. Rolling blackouts are an ongoing issue. As the demand for electricity increases, it is important to make buildings more energy efficient.
Reducing energy use from buildings is critical for mitigating the impacts of climate change
For climate change mitigation, reduced energy use from buildings is one of the most important potential approaches. While this can be achieved through energy savings, it also requires changes in the construction and operation of buildings. The building stock and the socioeconomic development of different regions will have an impact on how effective the strategies are.
Building materials are responsible for over one third of global energy related greenhouse gas emissions. In this century, buildings are expected to double their global carbon budget. Research into the impacts of building materials has grown in the last decade. However, most studies have focused on just one aspect of emissions.
There are two main ways to reduce GHG emissions: reducing the demand for energy and improving material efficiency. Both strategies can be used to decrease emissions from buildings.
One strategy, which can be implemented in the design and construction phase of buildings, is to increase the proportion of renewables in building construction. Another approach is to increase the recycling rate of building materials. Higher recycling can help decarbonize the material supply by avoiding mining. This would allow for negative emissions technologies, which can help offset process-related emissions.
Another strategy involves increasing the number of buildings that are compact and reusing existing buildings. According to the Moving Cooler study, more compact development could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 9 to 15 percent by 2050.
Another possible strategy is to reduce the demand for housing. This is especially important in rapidly urbanizing countries. However, this is an area where more efforts are needed to meet long-term objectives.
A recent study assessed the impacts of material efficiency strategies in nine large economies. These results show that, while all observed strategies still exceed the 1.5 degC climate target, the mitigation potential of these strategies varies considerably by region.
Market failures in energy efficiency
Many market failures can contribute to lower energy efficiency. Some of these are the technical, behavioural and informational ones. They can be addressed by different policies, regulations and information tools.
Technical innovations are one way to improve energy efficiency. This includes improving the technology of appliances. However, these solutions may not be sufficient to redress the underlying market failures. The most successful technologies may also require an additional layer of policy intervention.
Behavioral or organisational innovations may be more effective. For instance, better communication between consumers and companies that provide energy-efficient goods can reduce energy waste and increase the number of energy-efficient products on the market. Nevertheless, many users fail to make the most of the information available to them.
Similarly, the most sophisticated behavioural initiatives may not be worth their weight in gold if they don’t address underlying market failures. In fact, a plethora of studies have shown that the best behavioural measures only achieve a small fraction of their intended effects.
Ultimately, an energy efficiency policy should only be implemented after addressing market failures. If market barriers are not removed, the benefits of a more energy efficient society will be limited. Energy efficiency is a large and complex sector that involves a wide range of products and services. Generally, the benefits of energy efficiency are spread across a variety of players, including the end user, manufacturers and service providers.
One particularly useful tool is a building energy performance certificate. Building owners and tenants can use these to assess the hidden energy performance of a building. These certificates can facilitate the selection of a more energy-efficient dwelling.
Likewise, a building energy performance label is another useful market tool. Labelling energy-efficient appliances can improve the market value of these products.
Low-impact way to reduce climate pollution
As global climate change continues to worsen, addressing air pollution is critical to mitigating its effects. Air pollution is linked to health impacts, ecosystem loss and weakened societies. Energy efficiency is one way to reduce emissions and conserve resources.
Air pollution is caused by burning fossil fuels, especially coal and natural gas. It includes pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, methane and ground level ozone. These short-lived climate pollutants are 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Short-lived climate pollutants are a big concern for human health. For example, the air pollution associated with ground level ozone kills over a Energy Efficiency million people annually. A recent report found that 35-390 non-fatal heart attacks and 300-830 early deaths among adults can be avoided if air pollution is reduced.
In the United States, the industrial sector accounts for about 29.6 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This sector produces indirect emissions from electricity consumption, as well as on-site emissions from chemical processes.
In California, the state’s climate change initiative targets greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The initiative’s multi-year program is designed to target low-income residents and create jobs.
The EU is aiming to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % by 2050. The European Commission’s legislative proposal for 2030 included a binding energy target.
Energy efficiency is a central strategy to address climate change. The Industrial Sector has an important role to play. It uses a high proportion of fossil fuels and accounts for almost a quarter of total U.S. electricity sales.
Efficiency gains have been strong, reducing emissions by 4 gigaton since 2000. However, recent increases in emissions have made the task more urgent. Luckily, a popular carbon pricing plan could lower emissions quickly and deeply enough to put the U.S. on a trajectory to meet the Paris Agreement target.