Shedding light on an easy way to cut our carbon footprint
If there is one simple but effective New Year resolution that everyone could make this month to reduce our carbon footprint then it is to install low-energy LED bulbs in their home.
That’s the advice from Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox who said that one small move would have a big effect in cutting the carbon emissions that are overheating the planet.
He was supported by the environmental analysis website Carbon Brief which has analysed Government figures to show that energy efficiency has had a bigger impact in cutting CO2 than renewable energy.
“It just shows that the “Cinderella” side of the market, which is often ignored or derided, is more effective than the more glamorous renewables which grab more headlines,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
The report said that switching from coal to renewables such as wind and solar power had reduced the use of fossil fuel energy by the equivalent of 95 terawatt hours (TWh) between 2005 and now.
However, in the same period, the more efficient and less controversial light bulbs, fridges, vacuum cleaners and other appliances had cut energy demand by 103 terawatt hours (TWh).
The research showed that figures of generated electricity in the UK peaked around 2005. But today these figures have dropped to 1984 levels (around 5 megawatt hours per capita).
Although households have played their part in energy efficiency so has industry with supermarkets improving the performance of their lighting and refrigeration.
“Ironically,” said Ron, “this has led to firms and individuals using less energy, offsetting the rise in energy prices. So while prices have gone up, often bills have gone down.”
But the research pointed out that there have been other factors such as energy imported by cables from Europe, population growth, moving away from energy-intensive industries and EU efficiency standards.
Simon Evans from Carbon Brief said that energy efficiency had played a huge role in helping the UK to cut its carbon figures – but he didn’t think that it had been given the recognition it deserved.
He said an example changing from a B or C-rated fridge to an A++ rated fridge could halve the energy use from that appliance.
Ron said: “It shows that ratcheting up efficiency standards for everything from planes, cars, lighting, washing machines, fridges and freezers can offer the best-value carbon reductions without the need to confront the public with restrictions on their lifestyle choices.
“People haven’t noticed it because if efficiency improves, they are still able to have the energy services that they want,” he added.
“But scientists will point out that energy efficiency is just one of a number of cures needed to tackle the multi-faceted problem of an overheating planet.”
For more information on energy efficiency and green energy idea contact Ron at Noreus Ltd on 0845 474 6641.