Opinion Column

The Energy Efficiency Win-Win Situation: Are We Still on Time?

Publicado: November 23, 2020

Climate change represents one of the greatest threats to humanity; greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels are still a reality and constitute two of its fundamental causes.

Today we have the opportunity to accelerate the process to stop depending on fossil fuels either with the implementation of public policies and/or technologies that allow this paradigm shift, otherwise we will become fragile societies.

Chile has been advancing in energy sustainability issues by counting on a plan to decarbonize the electrical matrix, increasing renewable energies, initiatives to promote electromobility, and making progress in Energy Efficiency.

Energy efficiency in simple terms means using less energy to perform the same task, i.e., eliminating energy waste. For example, energy-efficient LED bulbs are capable of producing the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs by using 75 to 80 percent less electricity. Investing in energy efficiency is often described as a win-win scenario, as reducing the amount of energy used and therefore the energy consumption saves money. But the benefit is not only monetary; increased energy efficiency can contribute to a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, boost energy security, support competitiveness, and reduce energy poverty.

That is why significant improvements in energy efficiency are part of Sustainable Development Goal No. 7, hence the main global priorities for sustainable development in the coming years. Thus, the European Union (EU) aims saving 20% of energy by 2020 and 27% by 2030, taking in account energy efficiency as a fundamental tool to alleviate the pressure on energy supply. Its applications are multiple, from eco-design and energy labeling electrical and electronic devices, technologies that consume less fuel such as hybrid or electric vehicles or insulation of buildings and houses to name a few.

Increased energy efficiency can contribute to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, boost energy security, support competitiveness, and reduce energy poverty”

In the context of the global pandemic and aspirations for sustainable economic recovery, energy efficiency brings forth both an opportunity and a challenge. Short-term fiscal stimuli combined with a green structural transformation and long-term commitments will allow us to manage climate and environmental risks, strengthen our social fabric, and inspire economic activity that creates value for humanity.

At Fundación Chile we accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency from different areas: implementing replacement models and seeking to reduce energy consumption in homes. First we did it with illumination, and we continued with refrigerators; providing neutral and transparent information to the consumer that allows them to make informed purchases regarding energy consumption and the cost/savings that this decision can generate; promoting awareness about the importance of energy savings/efficiency, both for the consumer due to the monthly expense in energy that a piece of equipment can generate, as well as for the environment, and encouraging through demand the increase in the availability of efficient products in the national market.

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