With the climate crisis looming ever larger, society has never placed such an emphasis on energy efficiency as it does today. But why is the way we use energy so important? And how is society increasing energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings? We explore all that in this article.
Why is energy efficiency so critical?
Energy fuels society and almost everything we do in our day-to-day lives. The electricity used to charge your phone, the gas used to heat your home and the fuel used to power your vehicle all have a cost to you and, crucially, the environment.
The generation of energy using finite resources, such as oil and gas, creates significant carbon emissions. Therefore, the more we use, the bigger the impact on our environment and wider planet. Energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources are crucial to reduce the demand for gas and oil, limiting the consequential impacts on our planet. But how is this being done?
The sun is a renewable, natural energy source for the entire planet, so harnessing its power is one of the best ways to generate electricity sustainably. Buildings of all types are using solar power to fulfil, or at least supplement their energy usage, reducing the demand for power stemming from fossil fuel.
Solar panels can be installed in most places with unrestricted access to the sun, although they’re not as effective during the winter months when we get less sunshine throughout the day. Nevertheless, every bit of solar power is less energy demanded from the national grid, which is great for the planet.
Another renewable energy source is wind, which is readily available around the British Isles. Turbines come in a variety of sizes, including the giant ones you see in the sea or on wind farms and smaller ones designed for household and commercial use.
Similar to solar technology, wind turbines supplement energy supplies across a range of settings and reduce the reliance on fossil fuel-generated power from the national grid.
Smart heating technology
Some of the most innovative improvements have come in heating systems. Boilers are now significantly more efficient than previously, meaning less energy (gas or electricity) is required to heat homes and commercial spaces. Central heating pumps and other system elements allow the flow of water to radiators more effectively too, maximising efficiency by limiting heat loss.
Other innovations such as air source heat pumps provide a new, sustainable method of heating homes and other buildings, while energy monitors give homeowners transparency to manage their usage and maximise efficiency through oversight.