Energy Conservation

Also known as: Energy Demand Management, Energy Demand Reduction.

Discussion

Energy use contributes to our quality of life. The challenge is to reduce our energy demand while maintaining or improving our quality of life.

We can do this through:

Need for Energy Conservation

Why take up the energy conservation challenge?

Consumption of greenhouse intensive fossil fuels is causing climate disruption, while alternative, low greenhouse intensive energy sources are in limited supply, or will require substantial time and money to develop. We need energy conservation to fill in the gap.

A combination of greenhouse intensity reduction and energy conservation is often cheaper that just relying on one or the other exclusively.

As with many forms of resource consumption where demand exceeds supply, it is not a good idea to simply augment energy supply without first examining the sources of demand, and seeing how that demand could be reduced, often with a low up-front investment and with numerous additional benefits.

Need for Energy Conservation in Australia

Much of Australia's energy supply is greenhouse gas intensive, and so contributes to global warming and climate change. (Most of Australia's electricity comes from brown-coal powered generators, for instance.)

We can reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing demand for energy. And by making our energy supplies less greenhouse intensive (eg by substituting wind power for brown-coal-fired power), but this in turn will require energy demand reduction.

Alternative energy is generally more expensive than fossil fuel energy and supply capacity is more constrained (by limits on the land available for fuel plantations, and on sites suitable for wind turbines, hydroelectricity generators, and geothermal power generators, for example).

So either way, energy demand reduction will be critical to greenhouse emission reduction in Australia.

Will reducing energy demand be easy in Australia?

The availability of cheap energy from fossil fuels has made Australia very energy dependent. The need to reduce energy demand in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is therefore a big challenge for Australians. On the other hand, cheap energy has meant that that many opportunities for demand reduction have been overlooked because energy savings have not been a priority.

How to Reduce Energy Demand

We can reduce energy demand by substituting low energy intensive products and activities for high energy intensive products and activities. And by reducing the amount of energy required for a given product or activity.

Examples:

No Regrets Energy Demand Reduction

How to maximise the side-benefits of energy demand reduction.

One way of easing the transition to a low energy future, is to look for energy reduction opportunities that have added benefits (benefits in addition to reducing greenhouse emissions).

Examples:

Library

Consumers Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Energy US.

Motivating Home Energy Action - A Handbook of What Works. Michelle Shipworth. Cool Communities. Australian Greenhouse Office. 2000.4

Demand Energy Demand Options. Australian Conservation Foundation. 2004.3

Demand Management. Energy Australia

Energy and Transport. Power for a Sustainable Future.

Energy Conservation. Wikipedia

Energy Conservation News and Resources. United States

Group Want Stronger Energy Management in Alice Springs. ABC. 2004.6.13

Home Greenhouse Audit Manual. Moreland Energy Foundation. Cool Communities. Australian Greenhouse Office.

How to Reduce Home Energy Usage. Wikibooks

Sustainable Energy Future. Sustainability Victoria

Using Energy Wisely. Power for a Sustainable Future.

Links

Australia

Cool Communities. Australian Greenhouse Office. Australia

Energy Conservation Systems. Australia

Demand Management and Planning Project. Planning. New South Wales

Energy Conservation and Management. Public Works. Queensland

Beyond Australia

Association for the Conservation of Energy. UK

Energy Conservation. North Carolina

Energy Conservation Centre. Japan

International Institute for Energy Conservation

2007.4.3