Making energy use more sustainable

What is a carbon footprint?

These are greenhouse gas emissions created by humans through various activities. Typically, carbon footprints are greater in Higher Income Countries (HICs) because peoples lifestyle which has led to the higher consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. The increase can be attributed to the higher consumption of electrical devices as well as private vehicles and the imports of food from abroad. Lower Income Countries (LICs) have more sustainable lifestyles as their consumption of fossil fuels is considerably lower.

How can buildings be made more energy efficient?

There are many ways in which buildings such as homes and offices can be made sustainable. Insulated lofts and walls, doubled glazed window which are south facing can significantly improve the efficiency of energy use to keep buildings warm by conserving the energy used to warm them up.
Other methods to reduce energy consumption include; turning off lights when leaving a room, turning off appliances and gadgets in the home or office, installing LED light bulbs and turning down the thermostat when washing clothes in the washing machine.

How can cities make transport more sustainable?

London has taken a direct approach to reducing its emissions by introducing the Congestion Charge. This helps to reduce traffic in central London by charging cars entering the area, and now there is a surcharge for all diesel vehicles. Greater London has a designated Low Emission Zone, which charges lorries or other commercial diesel vehicles who do not meet its standard. Cities such as Oxford and Cambridge have introduced Park and Ride schemes to encourage visitors to leave their vehicles outside the city and travel in using a free bus network. The introduction of hybrid buses in London which are part electric are also helping to reduce emissions. ‘Boris Bikes’ which were initially conceptualised under the Mayor Ken Livingstone have been a great success with over eleven thousand bikes covering the city centre.

How can technology make transport more efficient?

Today, the UK uses almost the same amount of oil for transportation as it did in the 1970s even though the number of vehicles has doubled. Clean coal technologies have improved the efficiency in which electricity is generated in power stations. Cars have become more fuel efficient with the introduction of hybrid vehicles as well as electric only cars such as Tesla. Significant improvements in Air transport with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner using 25% less fuel than its predecessors have helped reduced emissions.

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