Simple changes like installing better building insulation could cut the world's energy demands by three-quarters, according to a new study.
Discussions about reducing greenhouse gas emissions usually concentrate on cleaner ways of generating energy: that's because they promise that we can lower emissions without having to change our energy-hungry ways. But whereas new generation techniques take years to come on stream, efficiency can be improved today, with existing technologies and know-how.
To calculate how much energy could be saved through such improvements, Julian Allwood and colleagues at the University of Cambridge analysed the buildings, vehicles and industry around us and applied "best practice" efficiency changes to them.
Changes to homes and buildings included triple-glazing windows and installing 300-millimetre-thick cavity wall insulation, using saucepan lids when cooking on the stove top, eliminating hot-water tanks and reducing the set temperature of washing machines and dishwashers. In transportation, the weight of cars was limited to 300 kilograms.
They found that 73 per cent of global energy use could be saved by introducing such changes.
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