Energy sustainability

Some solutions to energy insecurity are more sustainable.

Carbon footprints

Everyone uses energy, but if people used less then it would be possible to reduce the amount needed. Energy use can be measured through carbon footprints. A bigger carbon footprint means that more energy is used and therefore more carbon is produced. Carbon footprints take into account:

  1. Goods and products - energy is used to produce goods and so it is better to buy less. Owning electronic devices can be bad, especially if they're often left on standby rather than being switched off.
  2. Transport - walking or using public transport is best, because travelling by car uses petrol or diesel per person. Aeroplanes use much more fuel than other forms of transport.
  3. Food miles - buying local food can use less energy as food is transported a shorter distance. However, sometimes food grown locally requires a lot of energy to produce because of the bright, warm conditions needed to grow food in huge greenhouses all year round.

Energy conservation

Congestion charge sign in central London

New homes built in the UK have lots of energy-saving measures, like loft and wall insulation, radiator thermostats and smart energy meters that monitor energy use. This is because any homes that are built or rented out have an energy rating, where A-rated homes use the least energy and G-rated homes use the most.

Businesses and organisations like to be energy efficient because it saves money. Public buildings like schools and hospitals have to display an energy certificate to show how much energy they use.

Local councils encourage people to use sustainable methods of transport. This could be through providing public transport, creating cycle lanes or introducing congestion charging. London has all of these measures, plus an underground train network and a cycle hire scheme.

Better technology

Modern life is dependent upon the use of electrical items. The European Union (EU) has introduced a system that rates household appliances, like washing machines and dishwashers - A+++ items use the least electricity and D items use the most. This helps people to choose products that use less energy.

Sticker used to determine the energy efficiency of appliances
An energy sticker used to determine the energy efficiency of appliances

Many cars now use less fuel and some have batteries so that they can be charged using renewable electricity. The Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is a tax for car owners. People who drive less energy efficient cars pay a higher VED.