Why should we conserve energy?
Energy Conservation is important for many reasons; economic, environmental and social.
It makes economic sense because energy is a commodity which we cannot afford to waste. Although fuel costs have generally fallen over the last ten years, they are now sharply rising again, and we spend over £65 billion a year on fuel in the UK. The UK government has calculated that 20% of this could be saved cost-effectively by investing in energy conservation. This would yield savings of over £10 billion a year; money that would boost the economy when spent on other goods and services. See how Pilkington energy-saving glass in buildings can help save energy.
Saving energy also makes environmental sense, because it is universally recognised that we are changing our climate in ways we cannot predict, by altering the composition of the earth's atmosphere as a result of our burning fossil fuels for heat and electricity. The more efficiently we can use energy, the less we need of it to maintain our lifestyle, and the less carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere.
The UK government has a long term objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by the year 2050. This can only be achieved by a significant improvement in the efficiency of energy use. Specifically, in this context, the recent Housing Act places an obligation on the Secretary of State to improve the level of energy efficiency in housing by 20% by 2010, compared to the level in 2000.
The social benefits of investment in energy conservation include creating significant numbers of jobs in energy-related services such as manufacturing and installation of energy saving equipment. Moreover, homes and workplaces would be made easier and cheaper to heat, greatly improving standards of living and comfort. This is especially important for people on low incomes, whose homes are often the hardest and most expensive to heat, and for people who are at home all day or who have higher heating needs because of illness or disability.