October 2023 StartNOW Challenge: Week 3
Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
Welcome to Week 3 of our 4-week sustainability challenge. This week, we dive into energy consumption, a key aspect of sustainability.
Did you know that energy use is responsible for a staggering 73.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions?
Buildings alone contribute 17.5% to this figure.
Let's explore how we can reduce our energy footprint and work towards a more sustainable future. In this week's challenge, we'll emphasize the importance of individual control in managing energy consumption. We'll highlight how optimizing room temperatures can make a significant impact. Additionally, behavioral changes, such as sustainable transportation choices and support for recycling, are vital for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Together, we can actively contribute to a more sustainable future by focusing on energy consumption.
“Energy use in buildings: 17.5%
Residential buildings (10.9%): energy-related emissions from the generation of electricity for lighting, appliances, cooking etc. and heating at home. Commercial buildings (6.6%): energy-related emissions from. the generation of electricity for lighting, appliances, etc. and heating in commercial buildings such as offices, restaurants, and shops.” (1)
Energy consumption per person varies across countries, influenced by factors like country output and population size. However, it is essential to prioritize individual control. When it comes to building energy consumption, room temperature is a key area to focus on. Optimizing room temperatures allows individuals to make a significant impact on reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability.
“Behavioral changes which affect the way people use energy are an important part of the toolkit for reaching net zero emissions by 2050." (2)
"The IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE) calls for profound transformations in every corner of the global energy system to achieve an energy sector that is both decarbonised and able to support a global economy twice the size of today’s in 2050. It sets out 400 milestones on deploying clean energy technologies and improving energy efficiency across all sectors.
But technology alone is not enough: net zero emissions in 2050 cannot happen without the consent and active support of people.
Behavioral changes include cycling or walking instead of driving, turning down heating, and going on holiday nearer to home. In addition, efforts by manufacturers to use materials more efficiently and encourage consumers to recycle can reduce energy use in industry.
Behavioral changes can and do happen. From diet to smoking to throw-away plastic packaging, past experience shows that people’s attitudes and habits are not set in stone. Most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that people are willing to adopt rapid and sweeping changes to their behavior in the face of a crisis. The assumption that people’s lifestyles and patterns of consumption will continue unaltered in a scenario of net zero emissions by 2050 is arguably unrealistic, and risks ignoring the potential for individuals, via their choices and habits, to help steer the energy system onto a sustainable path.” (3)
The choice of energy source for electricity significantly affects emissions related to energy consumption. “Carbon dioxide emissions associated with energy and industrial production can come from a range of fuel types. The contribution of each of these sources has changed significantly through time, and still shows large differences by region. In the chart we see the absolute and relative contribution of CO2 emissions by source, differentiated between coal, gas, oil, flaring, and cement production.” (4)