Energy is an essential commodity helping power our society, which we need to conserve and transition towards sustainable and renewable sources of energy if we wish to achieve Net Zero targets.
In this article, we look at some interesting facts about energy and the importance of conserving same (particularly for organisations).
5 Interesting facts about energy
1. Energy vs Electricity vs Power
Energy and Power are closely related but are not the same physical quantity.
The word “energy” was originally derived from the Greek word “energeia” which loosely translates as “a state of being at work”. Aristotle is credited as its creator in 384 B.C.
Many times when people are talking about energy, they’re really referring to electricity – typically generation and usage. A form of energy, electricity, is produced as a result of the movement of electrons.
Power on the other hand, is how fast energy is used or transmitted. Power is the amount of energy divided by the time it took to use the energy. Its unit is the watt, which is one joule per second of energy used.
Multiplying a value of power and the period of time over which it is used gives an amount of energy. This is why a kilowatt is a unit of power but a kilowatt-hour (1 kilowatt times 1 hour) is a unit of energy.
2. Waste is an Untapped Energy Source
Waste, and even sewage, is an untapped source of energy. Methane, a natural form of gas, is produced after waste breaks down. Trapping or containing methane from waste and sewage can be then burned to generate heat and convert same into electricity. Using methane as an alternative energy source helps cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which means a win-win situation for society and the environment.
3. Online Searches Power a Lightbulb & Encourages Us to Plant Trees
Did you know that that there are approximately 5.6 billion Google searches per day; and that one Google search is equal to turning on a 60W light bulb for 17 seconds? Google uses enough energy to continuously power 200,000 homes and accounts for roughly 0.013 percent of the world’s energy use. Google matches the energy it consumes by purchasing carbon offsets to achieve “Net Zero operational emissions.”
4. Turning the Clock Forward Conserves Energy
Every first Sunday of October, Australia moves time forward in observance of Daylight Saving Time or DST. This practice was carried over from the First World War to save on energy resources for the war efforts. In fact, the U.S Department of Energy’s 2008 study revealed that DST helped save 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours, or equivalent to the amount of power used by 100,000 households annually. DST’s impact is significant, which shows that turning the clock forward conserves energy.
5. The Earth Can Be Powered by an Hour’s Worth of Solar Energy
The Sun is an abundant energy source; the Earth receives quintillion joules of energy from the Sun every hour. Did you know, an hour’s worth of the Sun’s energy can power the entire world for an entire year? And did you know a typical silicon solar cell (in Solar PV) is able to convert up to 22% of the available solar energy into electricity? The challenge and opportunity we have is to properly harness the abundant energy from the Sun and increase the efficiency of technologies used to convert heat and/or sunlight into useable electricity. There are however breakthroughs and innovations in this space.
Why Organisations Should Conserve Energy
An estimated 15 trillion watts of power are being used across the world at any one time. That’s the equivalent of powering ten billion 100-watt light bulbs simultaneously. In theory, a growing population will increase this use, however this can be minimised through smarter and more efficient energy technologies, combined with the growth in renewable energy.
Using less energy will mean less impact on the environment and the transition towards renewables will further minimise our overall footprint.
While there has been a lot of focus and investment in renewables, commercial organisations and governments at all levels are urged to be more proactive in implementing energy conservation / energy efficiency measures within their operations as a first priority and then support or offset their reduced consumption with renewables.
The International Energy Association (IEA) refers to energy efficiency as the first fuel…”[energy efficiency is] the fuel you do not have to use – and in terms of supply, it is abundantly available and cheap to extract. But demand for the first fuel needs to grow, and that’s where policy action matters the most”.
Dr Alan Finkel (former Chief Scientist of Australia) said it best when speaking on energy efficiency :“a gigawatt of power not needed because you’ve done an efficiency measure is the best form of energy generation that you could possibly ever hope to have”
Some examples of energy efficiency measures include lighting upgrades, mechanical upgrades and replacements of Heating Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, IoT-enabled sensors, and controls, building envelope or modifications to insulation and other smart building management solutions.
These measures, among others, can combine to significantly reduce your operating costs and carbon footprint as an organisation.
Energy-intensive organisations can achieve these significant cost savings and emissions reductions if they partner with specialist energy efficiency provider.
Sustainable Energy Conservation and Renewable Generation Solutions Tailored for Your Organisation
3E Group can partner with you to design and implement a holistic package of end-to-end energy efficiency measures with a focus on maximising savings and return on investment.
To accelerate your sustainability journey, connect with the energy efficiency experts at 3E Groupor call 1300 55 77 64.