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Making energy efficiency a better solution

December 7, 2010

Green Solutions @ COP16 is going on from December 5 to December 7, featuring leading private sector efforts in climate change action, mainly involving technology, investments and trade. In addition, it functions as a platform for exchange and creative discussion of ideas between participants at the event. Today, the “Energy Efficiency and GHG perspectives – Braskem’s Contribution” talk touched on energy efficiency, which has been touted as the fifth fuel of the world, with numerous business opportunities and technology available in the market today.

Looking at existing technology and power practices today, there is the need to tackle both demand and supply side issues. Demand reduction can be done in 3 areas, namely the industry, transportation and residential. There is the need for better logistical planning, investments in better energy efficient technology as well as policies that encourage and provide incentives for the adoption of energy efficient products. Especially in residential areas, there are countless opportunities, be it insulation, cooling systems, or even lighting. Even though investment in such technology may seem costly in the short term, the benefits in the long term are undeniable, not only just environmental wise, but also cost-wise. On the supply side, investments in more efficient power supplies as well as renewable energy sources

However, in our pursuit for energy efficiency, we are hindered by our obsession with the lowest initial cost, and short-term, instant gratification. Coupled with the recent economic crisis, both economic and environmental issues have been pushed into the long term agenda, with more concern with saving immediate costs. Our linear consumption pattern of resource -> product -> waste is also wasteful, as compared to a circular society with no resource waste and a resulting surplus.

So what can be done?

It is crucial to recognise that there are two aspects of the problem to be tackled, namely lack of awareness and financing of resources, innovation and R&D. Awareness can be generated through government policies as well as subsidies or incentives that encourage the adoption or development of such technologies. Reaching out to the community on both a cost-saving and green-consciousness basis (i.e. making individual benefits tangible) can help in making these technologies more readily accessible and available. On the other hand, with regards to financing,  there is a need to find ways to implement projects. Thus, banking systems can work more actively and function as catalysts to promote projects related to climate change action as well as emissions reductions. This provides greater opportunities for fundable projects to be funded, to be developed, and their benefits to be actualised.

And to end off with a nice quote from one of the speakers:
“Stop prolonging the past, embrace the future.”
It is time we discard our habits in purchasing energy-inefficient products, and time for us to move on and embrace technology that can inevitably make this world we live in a better one (:

5 Comments leave one →
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