Why does it matter to save energy?
Saving energy is important:
- To protect the earth and future generations from the effects of peak oil and climate change
- To make sure that energy is used effectively to reduce the incidence of fuel poverty
- To reduce our reliance on imported fuel and increase energy security
At present, most of our electricity and heat comes from burning fossil fuels, such as gas, coal, and oil. This gives off carbon dioxide gas, which is building up in the earth's atmosphere. This build-up acts like the roof on a greenhouse, trapping the heat inside - the so-called greenhouse effect.
Other gases also contribute to the greenhouse effect, including methane and nitrogen oxides. The result is global warming. Average temperatures at the earth's surface are gradually rising, causing climate change and rising sea levels.
Also, our dependence on oil as a fuel means that supplies are becoming scarcer, and production is likely to decline in the coming years. We might already have reached peak oil - the point when new oil fields cannot match the production from depleted reserves, and the oil begins to run out.
On a more local level, energy efficiency helps to lift people out of fuel poverty - the situation when people are forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their household income on fuel for heating and other domestic uses.