With the mobile revolution, we often need small amounts of energy (and power 😊). It will be good to have energy scavenging devices giving us ubiquitous power using piezoelectricity, thermoelectricity, electromagnetism or photovoltaics. Since energy efficiency is less critical for these minute demands, even wireless electricity could be considered.
Marketing energy efficiency is so 2010. IEADSM even ran a branding project on energy efficiency.
Rising energy prices combined with environmental concerns have meanwhile turned the tide on consumer attitudes. In a more recent 2014 survey, Accenture found that consumers have a keen interest in electricity savings, home energy audits, home automation and home energy generation.
The ‘coolness factor’ of energy efficiency is on the rise. Can we look forward to more apps and incubation centres dedicated to it?
Well over two thirds of citizens in Western Europe live in cities. In some countries, it’s even over 90%. Considering the compactness of dwellings, the availability of public transport, shorter travelling distances and the efficient use of land, there is a lot to say for urban sustainability.
Both urban and rural communities have their own, very different sustainability challenges.
The term ‘zero energy’ sounds contradictory. We need energy to produce materials, then construct, operate and renovate or demolish buildings. Once a building is occupied, we need energy for heating, cooling, hot water, cooking, and we use electricity for a myriad of other energy services. And there is a temporal dimension – to produce energy at the time when it is needed.
‘Zero energy’ in its current use does not mean ‘compensating all energy uses related to the building, over its entire lifecycle, at the time when energy is needed’.
The term works well as a commercial label. For regulation, it lacks precision.
Land use from different energy sources varies two orders of magnitude. Over the past decades, the impact of the energy transition on natural landscapes has become increasingly apparent. The mitigating effect of energy efficiency on land use is however rarely mentioned in policy discussions, probably because of its distributed nature, both in space and time.
It is however a fertile ground for academic studies 😎.