Energy Conservation And What Is Being Done

When it comes to energy conservation, it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that the USA is the second largest producer of energy in the world after China. One might say that this could equate to the size of the population. Whilst in essence this is probably true, the conserving of wasted energy is fast becoming a real priority.

The US the Department of Energy (DOE) has four key areas that use natural energy and these are transportation, industrial, commercial and residential. The DOE has specified a national energy policy and have implemented a series of incentives that can aid each sector to become more energy efficient.

Transportation

Overview – This sector includes all personal vehicles as well as commercial haulage. Also included in this are boats, trains and aircraft (both passenger and freight). Out of this sector around 65% of energy is being produced by vehicles which are powered by gasoline. Around 20% is produced by ships and trains and the remaining 15% is through air traffic.

Energy conservation incentives  – The government introduced a ‘gas guzzler’ tax on low fuel economy vehicles to dissuade people from buying such large vehicles. They have introduced a heavily subsidized public transport system and are ploughing money into making it more efficient. Other incentives such as car pooling, particularly in larger cities where increased designated high occupancy lanes are being rolled out.

Residential

Overview – Refers to private residences, houses, condo’s or dormitories where people reside. Many alarms have been sounded when it comes to energy efficiency. The latest figures show that almost half of the total figure for energy wastage in homes is expended on heating and cooling places of residence. This figure obviously varies from state to state because of the variety of climates across the country.

Energy conservation incentives -Heating and cooling systems are far more efficient now than they were ten years ago and improvements are being made all the time. Companies will offer free checks to see just how energy efficient your system is. Passive houses is another approach that the government is looking into. Starting in Germany in the 1990’s houses were being built in such a way that they needed little or no energy for heating or cooling, using clever design techniques. At present there are around 3000 of these houses around the world, and in America, there are only 13.

Commercial

Overview – This sector includes businesses such as retail, restaurants, office buildings and other work places that are non industrial. The biggest expenditure in this sector is again cooling and heating, however it only represents around 30% of the total energy expended. Instead lighting at around 25% has a much bigger part to play.

Energy conservation incentives – By clever use of light and space, energy wastage can be limited  through building design. A ‘turn it off’ campaign was also launched by the government  to promote energy efficiency through simply switching off lights. Smart meters were also introduced that make employees aware in cold hard cash terms, the amount of electricity being expended.

Industrial

Overview – This sector includes the processing and production of all goods and this extends to manufacturing, mining, farming and water management. This is the sector that the biggest energy losses were being made but over the last 30 years have improved.

Energy conservation incentives – The energy consumption needed to produce paper and steel have fallen by around 40% in recent years and energy expenditure from the oil/petroleum refining and cement production industries has also dropped by 25%. This is mainly due to the focus on recycling of waste materials  using co-generation equipment. Governments are now forcing the hand of companies to be more energy efficient and to come in line with some of the other forward thinking countries.

Although energy conservation has become one of the top priorities for world leaders, we still have a long way to go if we are  to be totally energy efficient as a planet.

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