In a perfect world, we would power the planet through completely renewable and natural energy sources, but unfortunately we're not there yet. In the meantime, find out how you can help reduce energy consumption at home
It’s time to start thinking about the planet. Whether you’re cutting single-use plastic from your life, reducing water use at home or going vegetarian, we all have a part to play in helping the planet get back on track. Energy consumption is at an all-time high worldwide, and despite increases in natural energy production like wind farms, we really need to look at how we are utilising energy. Joakim Cimmerbeck explains.
How has energy consumption changed over the years?
In May 1979 Gary Numan and his band Tubeway army released “Are friends electric?” Little did he know just how electric we would become. More accurately, we have become more dependent on energy, our craving for power and fuel is increasing at a steady pace, and that’s concerning.
Back in the day, humans had very few electrical gadgets; the cool people had an electric toothbrush, refrigerators and some even had colour TVs with remote controls, but that was pretty much the extent of available household gadgets. In stark contrast, today, there are probably more smartphones than humans, with approximately 2.5 billion smartphone users worldwide (1), all of which get plugged in every night for charging.
Along with all the electric equipment, nowadays, we all travel far more frequently than before, and this travel is at further distances than was once ever dreamed. I am told by “she who has to be obeyed” that we need at least two family holidays a year. That means airfares, taxis, trains and sometimes boats, all of which are propelled by some sort of energy, with almost 100% coming from fossil fuels.
What industries use the most energy?
Today, the majority of the world’s total energy consumption comes from making and transporting must-have items from country to country. But there is a lot we can do to reduce in this sector. Our industry is working all the time to save energy, and while it might not be for the reason of saving the planet, rather to save money, that doesn’t really matter.
One example of this is the mobile communication industry, that spends in total 2% of all the energy in the world sending our data back and forth. That is equal to the total power consumption of all the airlines in the world! There are improvements being worked on that can, and when fully implemented, these could reduce the energy usage by 90%, and still allow for the inevitable growth of mobile communication.
Industry and transport are the largest consumers of energy, but why is any of this even important, and what role can we play at home?
Why do we need to reduce energy consumption?
For starters, the world is quickly running out of non-renewable resources such as petrol and coal. But even so, fossil fuels are not a clean source of energy, meaning that pollutant emissions end up in the atmosphere when they are burned – hello, global warming.
In a perfect world, we would all switch over to natural energy sources like wind or solar, but that’s not realistic just yet. In the meantime, there are actually some simple ways that you can help at home:
- Turn light switches off in rooms when you aren’t using them
- Of all the household gadgets, the water heater consumes the most energy, so make your showers snappy
- Don’t have any electronic household items on standby
- Only air condition your space when you are there
- Opt for public transport
- Purify the air at home with plants instead of electrical gadgets
- And finally, shop local from waste-free grocery stores to reduce international transport energy consumption
The race to become less dependent on power is eternal and we will always have new things that will consume our energy, so the more we can do to change our attitude and become energy-savers the better. Until next time.