Greed is good: Consequences of thrifty energy use and investments in your house.

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.

solaris
Solaris Building, Singapore

 

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.

 

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21647975-plummeting-prices-are-boosting-renewables-even-subsidies-fall-not-toy

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21647974-slash-electricity-use-both-utilities-and-their-customers-must-play-their-part-green?zid=313&ah=fe2aac0b11adef572d67aed9273b6e55

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21639016-biggest-innovation-energy-go-without-invisible-fuel?zid=313&ah=fe2aac0b11adef572d67aed9273b6e55

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06q4yqv

http://www.theclimategroup.org/what-we-do/news-and-blogs/energy-efficiency-is-the-fifth-fuel-the-cheapest/

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3 thoughts on “Greed is good: Consequences of thrifty energy use and investments in your house.”

  1. Dear jetse,

    I share your enthusiasm when looking at consumers themselves to change their energy use. I am also very pleased that you do look at possiblities of subsidies obtained from the government in order to promote sustainable inivitatives by consumers themselves, however in your blog you dont make a distinction between different countries and the ways that governments in different countries reward sustainable intiatives. for example I know that in Germany the government deals with feed in tariffs when promoting sustainable intiatives rather than subsidies as rewarded in the Netherlands. What do you think about these different ways of promoting sustainable initatives? Dont you, for example think that a central European ruling for governments to promote sustainable initiatives would be a more effective way of promoting sustainable initiatives all over. Or do you think that (financial) differences in European countries would prove to be too big for a central way for governments to aid consumers in their sustainable initiatives? .

    Gr Arash

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    1. A discussion about sustainability and energy security on the European level would be entirely different from all the energy saving small talk we are having today. We would be talking about huge European projects that would connect most member states to a European Energy grid, making member states much less prone to Russia’s “Gas Diplomacy”. If the European member states were to work more closely together there would be much more space for large investments in the areas in which the generation of renewable energy is more effective, rather than making those investments in less effective locations closer to home. Personally I’m not that confident in the current energy policy in Germany. Many of those subsidies are really hurting the energy companies, which have restart their facilities everytime the sun isn’t shining that bright (I assume German weather is at least as dissapointing as it is here). Also the recent stance against nuclear energy seems to be politicly movitated rather than a sustainability concern. Nuclear energy will play an essential role in our future energy demands.

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    2. This video provides asome insight on the European Energy plan provided by the ALDE fraction of the European parliament, their chairman Guy Verhofstadt is considered one of the biggest advocates for a stronger and more unified Europe.

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