Stabilizing climate: An energy efficiency revolution

Dr. Huidae Cho
Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis...University of North Georgia

1   Early stages of two energy revolutions

Century-old technologies ⇒ Far more efficient technologies

An economy powered by fossil fuels ⇒ One powered by renewable energy

2   Implementing Plan B

Goal: Improve energy efficiency enough ⇒ Offset projected growth in energy use

2.1   CO2 emissions

Cutting net CO2 emissions 80% by 2020

  • 386 parts per million (ppm) in 2008 ⇒ 400 ppm

2.2   Energy economy

Restructuring of the world energy economy is needed

  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Developing renewable sources of energy
  • Those who develop new energy technologies will be strong in world markets

3   Pacala and Socolow (2004, Princeton University)

How could annual CO2 emissions be held at 7 billion tons, not 14, over 50 years?

Described 15 proven technologies.

Theorized that advancing technology would allow CO2 emissions to be cut to a level that natural CO2 sinks can absorb.

It is time to shift to the most promising energy technologies.

4   A revolution in lighting technology

Lighting sector is on the edge of a spectacular revolution.

Perhaps, the quickest and most profitable way to improve energy efficiency.

5   Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

The first advance in this field

75% less energy than old-fashioned incandescents

Production in China (85% of the world total) 750 million in 2001 ⇒ 2.4 billion in 2006

Sales in the US 21 million in 2000 ⇒ 397 million in 2007

1 billion out of 4.7 billion sockets in the US (21%) have CFLs.

5.1   The world is moving

In February 2007, Australia announced the phase-out plan of incandescents by 2010.

Canada soon followed with a 2012 phase-out goal.

In early 2009, the EU approved a phase-out of incandescents.

Brazil started a program to replace incandescents with CFLs ⇒ 50% sockets have CFLs.

In 2007, China announced a plan to replace all incandescents with more-efficient lighting.

India was planning to phase out incandescents by 2012.

5.2   Retailers are joining the switch

Walmart began a marketing campaign in 2007 to boost CFL sales.

Currys (Britain) discontinued sales of incandescents in 2007.

5.3   Other parts of the world

Office buildings, commercial outlets, and factories still use linear fluorescents.

6   Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)

85% less energy than old-fashioned incandescents

Ultimate in lighting efficiency, but still too costly for most uses

6.1   Taking over niche markets

Traffic lights: 52% of the US market

Exit signs in buildings: 88% of the US market

New York cut its annual bill by $6 million by shifting to LEDs in many traffic lights.

In early 2009, LA said it would replace 140,000 street lights with LEDs.

Would save taxpayers $48 million over the next seven years.

Would result in reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off the road.

6.2   Universities are getting involved

University of California-Davis has a Smart Lighting Initiative—Campus parking garage first.

University of California-Santa Barbara

University of Arkansas

Tianjin Polytechnic University in China

7   Just turn it off

Save even more energy by turning lights off when not in use.

Numerous technologies for doing this

  • Motion sensors
  • Light sensors
  • Dimmers

LEDs with these technologies can cut energy consumption to <10% of that with incandescents.

8   LEDs vs. CFLs

LEDs last 5 times longer than CFLs.

Savings from both lower energy costs and the elimination of maintenance > the higher initial cost.

9   A revolution in lighting technology

What can a different light bulb do in terms of saving energy?

Over the ten year lifetime of a CFL compared to an incandescent bulb, one could power a Prius hybrid from NY to SF.

Shifting to energy-efficient lighting would cut the energy share of lighting from 19% to 7%.

Equivalent to closing 705 of the world’s 2,670 coal-fired plants (26%).


10   Energy-efficient appliances

10.1   Flat-screen TVs


Flat-screen TVs use 2x more energy than traditional cathode TVs.

Large-screen plasma TVs use 4x more.

In UK, some Cabinet members are proposing to ban plasma TVs.

California proposed that all new TVs draw 1/3 less by 2011, 49% less by 2013.

Just watch less TV!


10.2   Standby power

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) put savings from reducing standby power at the top of the list.

Electricity used in standby mode worldwide accounts for up to 10%.

In OECD countries, standby power 30W to +100W.

Its cumulative use is substantial.

10.2.1   Efforts to reduce standby power

South Korea caped standby power use by appliances to 1W by 2010.

Australia was doing the same by 2012.

In the US, 5% of residential electricity use is from standby mode.

  • Dropping it to 1%, which could be done easily, could close 17 coal-fired plants

If China were to lower its standby losses to 1%, a far larger number of plants could be closed.

10.3   China is the big challenge

In 1980, they produced only 50,000 refrigerators for domestic use only.

In 2008, they produced

  • 48 million refrigerators
  • 90 million color TVs
  • 42 million clothes washers
  • Most for export

China’s electricity use expanded 11-fold from 1980 to 2007.

Standards for most appliances established by 2005 are not strictly enforced.

10.4   The US Energy Policy Act of 2005

Designed to raise appliance efficiency standards enough to close 29 coal-fired plants.

Other provisions incentivize and encourage the adoption of energy-efficient technologies.

Would close an additional 37 coal-fired plants.

Would also reduce natural gas consumption substantially.

Overall, projected to reduce consumer energy bills in 2020 by > $20 billion.

This Act was not fully enforced prior to President Obama’s election.

10.5   Europeans vs. Americans

Europeans use half as much electricity as Americans do.

They still have a large potential for reducing energy usage.

For example,

  • A refrigerator in Europe uses half as much electricity as one in the US
  • But the most efficient ones on the market use only 1/4 as much electricity as the average refrigerator in Europe ⇒ Huge potential energy savings.

10.6   Japan’s Top Runner program

The world’s most dynamic system for upgrading appliance efficiency standards.

The most efficient appliances marketed today ⇒ Standard for tomorrow

Late 1990s-2007, Japan raised efficiency standards by 15-83%.

A 2008 report indicates that the program is running ahead of the initial goals.

10.7   Consumers

Consumers often do not buy the most energy-efficient appliances.

If societies adopt a carbon tax, the efficient appliances would be attractive.

Energy use labeling requirements would help consumers.

More than 1,283 new coal-fired plants that the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects by 2020

The combined gain in lighting and appliance ⇒ Close 1,410 coal-fired plants

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11   Zero-carbon buildings

Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program assists companies

  • Improving existing structures to make and save money
  • Reducing carbon emissions

Architectural schools are changing the ways they educate future architects

  • Energy efficient designs rather than designs based on fossil fuels

Germany requires all new construction to receive +15% of energy from renewable sources ⇒ Solar panels

11.1   Leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) certification

LEED certification

  • Buildings are more energy-efficient
  • Greensburg, Kansas rebuilding after 2007 Tornado

The US Green Building Council (USGBC)—World Green Building Council

  • Countries are able to join when their government-owned buildings meet LEED certification

12   Electrifying the transport system

Redesigning urban transport: Oil-based vehicles ⇒ Electric-based ones

Cutting carbon emissions

Power comes from

  • Wind farms
  • Solar panels
  • Geothermal power plants

Within Cities: Use light rail (e.g., MARTA), buses, bicycles, cars, and walking

Long distance: High speed trains!

12.1   Hybrid or all-electric vehicles

Recharging batteries in hybrid cars with off-peak wind-generated electricity ⇒ Less than $1 per gallon of gas-equivalent

Infrastructure is needed for more hybrids and all-electric vehicles to be in mass use.

  • Kroger in Gainesville has charging stations
  • UNG Gainesville has charging stations

What about electric car service stations in the future?

13   A new materials economy

Our modern society is based on throw-away economy.

The production, processing, and disposal of materials waste materials and energy.

30% of the world energy consumption ⇐ Production of new materials

13.1   Recycling and reusing materials


Energy savings from recycling or reusing materials to make something new

  • Using plastic to make plastic
  • Using papers to make papers


Many countries charge customers a fee for not bringing their own bag.

New Hampshire started “pay as you throw.”

  • Citizens pay to throw away garbage
  • Encourage recycling

Do YOU use recycling bins at home and school?


14   Smarter grids, appliances, and consumers

Currently unable to move low-cost electricity to consumers on existing lines

Need a new system to move renewable energy to congested areas

Increasing grid efficiency

Reward consumers for conserving energy use during peak times


15   Tiny houses


An 18-year-old student builds home as school project in New Zealand and now lives for almost free!


16   The energy savings potential

Identify energy saving measures to offset the 30% growth in global energy consumption projected by the IEA by 2020.

If more states would reach the same level of energy efficiency as top 10 states ⇒ 62% of US coal power plants could be closed

16.1   Improving energy efficiency

Shifting to energy-efficient lighting lowers world electricity use by 12%.

Reducing the reliance on the urban car for transportation

Creating carbon neutral buildings with energy efficient appliances

Recycling plastics could cut energy use by 32%.

16.2   Renewable energy

Converting to renewable energy sources and technology is fairly easy to do.

Moving to diversified transportation systems not reliant on fossil fuels

16.3   Carbon tax

Increase carbon tax to $55 per ton of CO2 generated, offsetting with a reduction in income taxes

However, it does not cover all the costs of burning fossil fuels.

17   Discussion: Carbon footprint

Calculate your daily carbon footprint (individually and as a team) approximately for different daily activities. You can find many carbon footprint calculators online. Present your data that you used in the calculator, and carbon emissions for those items. For example,

  • Daily driving: kg of CO2
  • Electricity: kg of CO2
  • ...

And take the average of your team members’ carbon footprint.

Think about what you would change permanently if you have to change only one thing in your life style to reduce carbon emissions.