When buying a home, it is good practice to check its utility bills and energy label. In 2010, energy performance of a home was however not yet a strong determinant of price except possibly in some extreme cases.
This made sense since a typical purchase price of a home today may be 250 times its annual energy bill. That’s why our mortgage payments are so much higher than our utility bills.
This situation changed over the past years . Nowadays, few buyers will omit to ask for past utility bills, and a poor energy performance will reflect badly on the value of a property.
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?
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 😎.
Extreme conditions can be useful to explore boundaries. With a cost of 100 $ per gallon, not to talk about the human cost of getting fuel to the frontline, efficiency measures become increasingly cost effective. Still not all cost-effective measures are being pursued due to other priorities. What hope do we have if energy efficiency doesn’t even make it to the battlefield, where its absence costs lives and 100 $/gallon?