As we are becoming more aware of our home energy use, conversely, our consumption of gadgets and appliances is on the rise. In the last 20 years, energy consumption in the domestic sector through use of consumer electronics has doubled. By 2020 consumer electronics and computing equipment will account for around 42% of electricity consumed in UK households.
So we’ve got to channel our increased awareness into better buying decisions when it comes to energy efficiency – buying ‘best in class’ wherever possible. Labelling helps consumers to make informed choices on the energy performance of products and appliances, and this is where our Energy Saving Trust Recommended scheme comes in.
If every household in the UK had an Energy Saving Trust Recommended digital radio the nationwide saving would be around £100 million and 400,000 tonnes of CO2 a year – enough to fill 50 Wembley Stadiums. These are savings not to be sniffed at.
When we are striving to cut the UK’s carbon emissions it’s easy to forget the global picture. And whilst consumption is on the rise here, anything we can do, China is doing on a much grander scale. The Guardian recently reported that China has overtaken the US as the world’s biggest energy user, citing the 250-metre LCD screen at The Place, one of Beijing’s newest shopping centres as an example of the new shows of ostentation by the Chinese.
This follows the previous news that the nation now also has the unwelcome title of the world's biggest emitter of carbon. According to information collected for the Copenhagen summit, it seems China overtook the US in 2007.
If you’re watching TV on a screen bigger than a football pitch, living in hope that it was best in class for energy efficiency seems pretty futile. Thankfully this kind of monster appliance is not the norm, but with a rapidly developing economy comes a rapidly increasing demand for gadgets and appliances for use in homes.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Across the road from The Place is the new triple-glazed Parkview Green ‘eco mall’ which aims to set new standards for energy efficiency in the capital, also utilising innovative heating and cooling systems.
China is also spending billions of dollars on renewable energy sources. Analysts believe it doubled its wind generation capacity from 12.1GW in 2008 to 25.1GW in 2009, making it the world's largest wind market. On the roads, The Chinese Government has announced plans to pump 100million Yen into the development of the country’s electric and hybrid vehicle market over the next ten years.
So while the trends in energy use of the world’s fastest growing power are concerning, where there’s clearly a pressing problem it is also heart warming to learn that there are people striving hard for a solution as well.