Energy Efficiency

Published on April 1st, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


Largest Source Of Energy Not Coal, Not Oil, Not Renewables, Not Natural Gas, Not Nuclear…

April 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on ABB.
By Jyotsna Ravishankar


The largest energy source for the world between 1974 and 2010? Think hard and think smart. It wasn’t coal, oil or even renewable energy.

If we all put in a bit of effort, the largest source of energy could well be energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency contributed 63 exajoules (EJ) of avoided energy use in 2010 – that’s larger than the supply of oil (43 EJ), electricity or natural gas (22 EJ each), said a first- ever “Energy Efficiency Market report.” This was not an overnight achievement, but the benefit of investments made by 11 countries in consciously being more energy efficient since 1973.

So, solving the world problems of depleting energy sources and more environmentally hazardous way of extracting oil seems quite simple today: energy saved is like energy produced.

Energy efficiency has been called a “hidden fuel, yet it is hiding in plain sight,” IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said, as she presented at the World Energy Congress in Korea.

Interestingly, in 2012 the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the UK first among the world’s 12 largest economies for reducing pollution in industry, transport and buildings. The study calculated each country’s efforts to reduce energy use in these areas which combined make for the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in developed economies, as well as overall policies.

The UK took the top place for energy savings primarily in industry and transport. The US was placed at number nine. But not even the large economies truly understand the potential of energy efficiency, was the council’s conclusion.

There is still a world of opportunity out there for improved energy use in buildings and transport. To put the savings in perspective, let’s see some numbers. The report reckons 11 countries made energy savings equal to $420 billion, higher than from any other single fuel source. Essentially, instead of ploughing in billions of funds into finding more energy, we can definitely spend millions in making our appliances, systems and cities work more efficiently.

It’s heartening that young countries like the United Arab Emirates are looking for and discussing ways to be more efficient. The capital city of Abu Dhabi has set energy efficient and environmentally-friendly requirements for all new developments including communities, villas, schools and offices. These requirements are measured through a new green building rating system known as the Estidama Pearl Rating System. Such measures are gaining traction in the country, which in the past was not particularly known for saving energy.

With dwindling world resources, energy efficiency can no longer be a topic just for academics. Here is where ABB scores as a company, as energy efficiency is not an after-thought – it‘s a core value.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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  • SidAbma

    How many chimneys are poking out of the roofs of commercial sized buildings and industry? What is leaving all those chimneys?
    Those other big plants with even bigger chimneys that make all the electricity North America consumes, what do you think is leaving all those chimneys?
    Increasing electrical energy efficiency is very important, but is the source that is making all this electricity really operating efficiently? 60%-40% -30%?
    What is leaving all these chimneys across America?
    Hot Wasted Energy! Might this effect global warming, and the effects of Climate Change?
    There are a lot of tail pipes going down our roads and highways venting exhaust, but how might this compare to a power plant, or industrial plant chimney?
    They are all important if there is a goal to create a better and cleaner environment.

    We have to Keep On Going, for their sake.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You could look up the role of waste heat in climate warming. I could do that for you, but I’m tired.

      I’m pretty sure you will find it very minimal. And had we not put a great big GHG over ourselves it would have simply radiated off into space.

  • rlhailssrpe

    There are several forces at play in efficiency upgrades. There are tons of energy to be saved by small redesigns in housing, but there are no incentives, for knowledgeable professionals, to achieve these savings. Who has the detailed knowledge to advise on the costs, and benefits, of tens of thousands of home upgrades? Thermodynamics and heat transfer are college level course work in engineering. Who pays for this?

    Most of our energy policy decisions, involving consumer energy costs, are made by people who have zero expertise in energy costs. They are talking heads, scientists, environmentalists, lawyers, politicians, even buxom actresses. The actual results are obvious, heat leaking homes and really stupid cars.

    Real energy efficiency can greatly aid our nation but it would require the loss of power by many influential people. History says it will never happen.

  • FA Miniter

    This is way beyond most Americans. They want their incandescent light bulbs.

  • Rick Kargaard

    This is the easiest most effective way to reduce GHG emissions. It is in the hands of property owners and drivers and can be encouraged with sensible legislation which enhances economies rather than harming them. Even existing buildings can be brought to near zero energy input. Auto mileage has already been greatly improved but there is lots of room to encourage the purchase of more efficient vehicles and to improve driving habits. A change in attitude, in North America, towards your transportation is in order. You have no entitlement to a huge luxury car, or truck, or unlimited travel at the expense of the environment.

    • Gwennedd

      Improving public transportation would greatly help get some of those entitled people out of their cars, especially if light rapid transit was implemented. Getting people to buy local produce and meats and other goods would also reduce the GHG emissions.There are so many ways to reduce energy consumption that will also improve the biosphere.

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