Energy efficiency is the way to go.

A new article in the New Scientist claims that efficiency gains alone could cut world energy demands by three-quarters.

This is, of course extremely relevant for everybody in the development sector, as we tend to be cought in the maelstrom of environmental innovation, while savings are probably the more efficient way forward. Especially for the poor we like to use as guinea pigs for technology that fails in the rich world.

It seems to me that the sectors with strong commercial interests, such as wind energy, or construction, do get a lot of airtime, while other techniques don’t get any airtime at all.

Bringing down the energy bill with about 20 % of an old house in an area with harsh winters can be done by any of the following investments:

  • New triple glazing and suppression of draughts
  • Roof or ceiling insulation
  • Wearing warm underwear (lowering the room temperature with 3 degrees)
  • Wall insulation
  • Heating only the rooms where you need higher temperature.
  • Getting rid of the draughts

I did not hear about a subsidy for underwear yet. However, this intervention is by large the most economical one.

We will not run out of oil, it will get more expensive as it runs scarce. Progressively more alternatives will become economical, but to overall the price of using energy will become higher. This upward trend will be slower than wat could be expected with only oil as a source, as new energy sources become available.

As the prices go up, we will not only have to consider using better technology, we will also have to consider to just stop doing the activity we were going to do, when other pathways are open to us.

Like putting on underwear when the temperature drops or not installing a heated jacuzzi in the bathroom.

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