Most of us take electricity for granted, and consume it as if it comes from a free and infinite magical source. In reality we have come to rely on massive infastructures which are providing us every day with our huge demand for electricity. Changes in attitude and consumption in our daily use of energy can be of great use in our fight for a more sustainable planet. Some refer to the concept of energy efficiency as the “fifth fuel”, and regard energy efficiency as the cheapest and cleanest method of balancing our supply and demand in a more sustainable world.
About 30% of our energy consumption goes towards buildings. Energy effiency was not something that was considered when cities were build in the past, architects, building companies and their investors were less concerned about energy conservation in their projects than they are today. Like many other products, many new commercial and residential areas are built with more care for energy efficiency such as clever use of heating systems or producing your own energy trough solar panels.
Unlike cars or refrigerators, buildings are not replaced that often. Many of the buildings that we live in today will still be standing here in 2050. That means that much of the energy saving will have to rely on the mindset of it’s residents. Being aware of your own energy consumption can save you hunderds of euros every year. Looking for good deals from ulity companies can be quite rewarding in the long run. Improving your house with double glazing and loft insulation will have high costs up front, but you might be eligible for government subsidies, making these investments much more worthwhile.
By being responsible for our own energy production and lowering our consumption will have big implications for the future of the energy market. Solar panels are becoming more popular even as their subsidies are falling. Renewable energy is not only seen an investment in a sustainable planet, it also has strategic importance, from saving the energy bills for households as well as becoming less reliant on foreign exporters of fossil fuels.