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Making The 2,000 Watt Society A Reality

By Daniel Bangser, Director of Investment Promotion in the U.S. for the Swiss government’s trade and investment agency Switzerland Global Enterprise

If you take all the energy being consumed on earth and divide it by the world population, it comes to approximately 2,000 watts per person a day. That is the foundation for the vision that was developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich more than 10 years ago, when the 2,000 Watt Society was founded. This energy model encourages people to keep consumption levels low to manage worldwide energy reserves. The ETH believes it is possible for every person on the planet to consume no more than 2,000 watts of energy per day.

Currently, our planet is struggling to find the balance between industry and environment. For instance, the US tops the list in energy usage by consuming an average of 12,000 watts per person per day, while those in less developed countries in Asia and Africa consume only 700 watts. With a consumption of 6,000 watts per person per day, Switzerland is seen by many experts as a role model for other developed countries.

One of the biggest advantages Switzerland has over other countries is the support of its citizens for a greener society.  In 2008, the population voted for the goal of achieving the 2000-Watt Society by 2050. To achieve this goal, Switzerland is making changes in the following areas:

Energy Efficient Infrastructure — Switzerland offers comprehensive energy services along with consulting for construction companies as well as incentives for energy efficient buildings such as lower mortgage rates.

Growth in Sustainable Buildings — Nearly all new structures are built to meet the Minergie Standard for low-energy housing including housing estates, school buildings and retirement homes

Green Transportation — The country is embracing low-impact public mobility with specific focus on public transport, cycling and pedestrian transport in urban areas.

As was demonstrated at the COP21 conferences at the end of 2015, there is an urgent global need to shift to more sustainable models of living and although it will take some time, making the 2,000 watt society a reality has been deemed feasible and would contribute to achieving that goal.

This post was written by Daniel Bangser, Director of U.S. Investment Promotion for Switzerland Global Enterprise, and is generously supported by Switzerland Global.

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