The global population, swelling from 7.4 billion in 2017 to more than 9 billion in 2040, will cause 30% expansion of present global energy need by 2040. The largest contribution to this demand (almost 30%) comes from India whose share of global energy use rises to 11% by 2040. Southeast Asia will be the second largest consumer of global energy production.
Although various countries are shifting towards renewable energy, the production of crude oil, atomic energy, natural gas, and coal-based thermal power continues to grow every year. However, we will need to come up with new technologies to harness the power of renewables such as wind, solar, and hydro if we are to provide the ever-growing global population with enough energy. So far, the global efforts to save energy, reduce carbon emission, recycle, and increase the use of renewables has been more talk and less action.
Focus on Renewable Energy
Whether you want to call your friends or travel to your office, almost all tasks in the modern world can’t take place without energy. In most cases, you will use electricity (both thermal and nuclear) followed by fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, all of these are a finite source of energy. At the current rates of production, oil will run out in 53 years, natural gas in 54 and coal in 110. Different organizations and governments have different deadlines in this regard. Still, these resources won’t last forever.
They also lead to pollution. Atomic energy releases hazardous nuclear waste into the environment, while the petrochemical industry releases harmful chemicals into nature. With a significant shift towards renewable energy, you can enjoy cleaner and greener earth for years to come. Renewables can reduce global warming. They can also create new job opportunities.
Start Recycling Now to Save Energy
- Focusing on renewables is not the only way to meet the growing energy demand. As people waste a large portion of the energy, you also need to focus on saving energy wherever possible. One of the best ways to save energy is recycling. It saves energy, which in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions resulting in a healthier environment. It can also protect natural resources from depleting.
- For example, if you recycle a single aluminium can, you save about 95% of the energy it would take to make a new one. That’s enough energy saved to power your television for about 3 hours. Another example is waste paper recycling including old newspapers, office paper, junk mail, and cardboard.
- Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy. This energy is enough to power an average U.S. home for six months. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of Carbon Equivalent (MTCE).
- That’s why you should prefer using moulded fibre products and stationery made from recycled paper. Next time you use a product, whether made from metal or paper, find out where it came from and where it is likely to end up after use.
How Can the Technology Advancements Help?
- Technical breakthroughs in various sectors including engineering and computer sciences have already started influencing the global energy industry. You can save energy at home and office using these technologies.
- A. Home and Building Automation
Home automation equipment such as automated thermostats can save substantial energy. It can adjust and control temperature with precision and efficiency. Similarly, you can use smart lighting systems that turn on and off when someone enters and exits a room. You can also improve the efficiency and sustainability of a building, locality or even a city.
Usually, smart buildings or cities use a horde of cutting-edge technologies including IoT connectivity, sensors, solar and wind energy, and the cloud to reduce energy wastage. A combination of these technologies can not only save energy for lighting and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems but also automate access control, security systems and more.
The Edge, a smart building in Amsterdam, has received the highest ever BREEAM sustainability score of 98.4%. It takes care of everything from allocating parking space to adjusting the microclimate. When people use the state-of-the-art gym located in the building, it converts their calorie expenditure into energy to run the building.
- B. Solar Charging for Electric Vehicles
Electric cars are becoming truly sustainable as now you can charge them using solar power stations. Many cities are setting up solar charging stations for electric vehicles. A company in the Netherlands recently added Tesla power packs to a universal charging station with solar arrays.
Equipped with 20 charging points connected to a 200-panel solar array and a 400kW/800kWh Tesla power pack battery system, electric vehicles can charge on sunlight during the day. At night power is supplied through battery backups.
We can’t live without energy and producing energy requires large-scale consumption of fast-depleting natural resources. However, we can avoid exhausting these resources if we start using renewables and start recycling everything we can. New cutting-edge engineering and computer technologies can help you take firm steps in this direction. So, when are going to embrace these 2Rs to make your life more sustainable? Tell us in the comments.