We’re always looking for ways to help out the planet, whether it’s helping to educate homeowners on greener living or promoting new energy efficient products. But sometimes it’s hard to get a complete picture of how the world uses energy and how we might enact global change as individuals. To help answer this question, we created the infographic below, comparing energy use by country and illustrating real world solutions that can help curb our energy usage.
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SAVE THE WORLD
By saving energy in your home
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY
WE ARE NOT AS EFFICIENT AS WE COULD BE:
DEFINITION: ENERGY INTENSITY
A way of measuring efficiency. Determined by calculation how much it costs to convert energy into goods. A higher MJ/$ means it takes more energy to create a product.
Energy Intensity by Country (Amount of energy in Megajoules needed to produce one US dollar in value)
United Kingdom- 6.5 Megajoules per dollar
Japan-6.9 Megajoules per dollar
Germany- 7.6 Megajoules per dollar
China-9.6 Megajoules per dollar
United States- 9.8 Megajoules per dollar
Netherlands- 10.2 Megajoules per dollar
Iran- 10.8 Megajoules per dollar
Norway- 12.9 Megajoules per dollar
WE USE MANY RESOURCSES:
Distribution of Remaining Non-Renewable Resources
Natural Gas- 19%
Hydroelectricity and natural energy are the only renewable resources that we use
World’s Energy Consumption
Natural Gas- 24%
Nuclear Power- 5%
Natural Energy- 2%
Bottom Line: we rely almost entirely on oil, coal and natural gas
Bottom Line: we heavily depend on resources that are dwindling
WE PRODUCE A LOT OF CO2
DEFINITION: CARBON DIOXIDE
Carbon Dioxide is a gas that is produced by respiration and burning carbon and organic compounds. Naturally present in air CO2 is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis unless they become overwhelmed by extreme volumes.
Top 10 Producers of CO2 in the World
China- 7.0 bil
United States- 5.5 bil
European Union- 4.2 bil
India- 1.7 bil
Russia- 1.7 bil
Japan- 1.2 bil
Canada- .54 bil
Iran- .54 bil
United Kingdom- .52 bil
THE AMOUNT OF CO2 WE PRODUCE IS RISING
By 2020, it is estimated to approach 10,000 million metric tons.
WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT OUR POOR ENERGY USAGE?
A theoretical unit of power, representing the amount of power (in kilowatts) saved through energy conservation.
CURRENT ENERGY LAWS
Today, the majority of residential and commercial construction is done with energy efficiency in mind.
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (U.S.): This act plans for a gradual increase of energy efficiency in the U.S. by mandating minimal energy requirements. (Eg., higher minimum fuel economies for passenger vehicles and phasing out the use of incandescent light bulbs.)
CalGreen (California): Applies to residential and commercial buildings. Mandates include: reducing water use, diverting construction waste from landfills, and inspecting buildings’ energy systems.
Phase-out Incandescent Bulbs (Australia): Australia has completely outlawed incandescent light bulbs since 2009.
A physicist in the late 1970s who coined the terms “soft energy path” and “negawatts”. He believed that to meet energy needs, we should increase efficiency, instead of increasing energy production.
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TO BE MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT?
In the US alone, buildings account for 72% of electricity consumption. Since so much energy is used in the residential sector, conserving energy in your home is an easy and effective way to reduce the world’s energy consumption.
INVEST IN ENERGY-EFFICIENT SOLUTIONS
Cost of Conventional versus Energy Efficient Appliances, Lighting, and Insulation
CALCULATE YOUR OWN ENERGY USE!
Wattage (of appliance) x Hours Used Per Day / 1000 – Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption (1 kilowatt (kW) = 1000 Watts)
TO DETERMINE YEARLY COST:
[Wattage (of appliance) x Hours Used Per Day x Days Used Per Year] / 1000 = ? x 8.5 cents/kWh (Your Energy Cost)
EXAMPLE: WINDOW FAN
(200 Watts x 4 hours/day x 120 days/year) / 1000 = 96 kWh x 8.5 cents/ kWh = $8.16 year
Each line represents the energy cost per year of the appliance, lighting, or insulation in the color key below.
Assuming you do 6 loads per week
Bill before: $60
Bill After: $48
Cost to Install: $550
CO2 Saved: 1,654 lbs
Assuming you do 6 loads per week
Bill Before: $71
Bill After: $51
Cost to Install: $750
CO2 Saved: 3,020 lbs
Boiler- Energy-efficient boilers use about 10% less energy; Bill Before: $1,122; Bill After:$824; Cost to Install: $5,550; Savings/year: $928; CO2 Saved: 54,402 lbs
Cooling System: Options include ventilation and absorption coolers; Bill Before: $668; Bill After: $503; Cost to Install: $3,413; Savings/Year: $165; CO2 Saved: 31,650 lbs
Refrigerator: Energy-efficient fridges use about 20% less energy; Bill Before: $54; Bill After: $43; Cost to Install: $1,180; Savings/Year: $11; CO2 Saved: 1,758 lbs
Heat Pump: An alternative to furnaces and air conditioners; Bill Before: $1,498; Bill After: $1,158; Cost to Install: $6,700; Savings/Year: $339; CO2 Saved: 55,657 lbs
Solar Roof Panels: Calculations for San Francisco, CA; Bill Before: $300; Bill After: $150; Cost to Install: $37,314; Savings/Year: $150; CO2 Saved: 36,072 lbs
Attic: Attic leaks can drain 50% of a home’s heating energy; Bill Before: $1200; Bill After: $960; Cost to Install: ~$3,500; Savings/Year: $240; CO2 Saved: 720 lbs
Windows: Single pane vs. double pane windows; Bill Before: $350; Bill After: $75; Cost to Install: ~$20,000; Savings/Year:$275; CO2 Saved: ~2,500 lbs
If half of the U.S. households had energy-efficient appliances in their homes, it would be enough to save $150 billion annually and reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 2 billion cars off the road!
CFL Bulb: CFL compared to an incandescent bulb; Bill Before: $143; Bill After$31; Cost per Bulb: $4; Savings/Year: $112; CO2 Saved: ~200 lbs
LED Bulb: LED compared to an incandescent bulb; Bill Before: $143; Bill After: $19; Cost per Bulb: $30-$40; Savings/Year: $124; CO2 Saved: 300 lbs
Skylight: Skylight vs. an incandescent bulb; Bulb Before: $143; Bill After: $0; Cost to Install: $450-$1,500; Savings/Year: $143; CO2 Saved: ~1000 lbs
*Cost estimates are for explanatory purposes only. Individual savings will vary depending on location, products, and use.
Conservation vs. Efficiency
Energy Conservation is an attempt to use less energy (e.g. riding a bike or turning off lights).
Energy Efficiency is using energy in an efficient manner (e.g. using energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and home insulation).
DEFINITION: REBOUND EFFECT
This idea takes into account the possible downside to energy saving. The more you save, the more you find it affordable to use more resources (e.g. the lower gas costs that come from owning a hybrid car could prompt more driving).
INCANDESCENT/CFL/LED LIGHTING FACE-OFF
Energy-efficient lighting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to reduce your energy usage. There are many options, but which should you choose?
If every household in the United States replaces one incandescent bulb with a CFL, we would have enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year.
We would save $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent 9 billion lbs of greenhouse gas emissions per year.