With the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries in 2015 the transition towards a cleaner, smarter and secure energy system has rapidly accelerated. The Paris agreement gives a clear and ambitious direction of travel for investment into low carbon solutions where commitments were made by countries stating how they plan to reduce their carbon footprints in their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), it reflects each country ambitious for reducing carbon emission taking into account its domestic’s circumstances and capability. Knowing that most countries in Africa has made this commitment, we can boldly say Africa has taking a giant leap to reduce greenhouse gas emission and promote the deployment of renewable energy, thus meeting our climate and energy goals.
We are well aware of the fact that incremental power is the solution to clean affordable energy for all. However, if we want to achieve this in the cheapest possible way we must take definite actions to reduce energy consumption. We must realize that the cheapest energy, cleanest energy and most secure energy is the energy that is not used. One could say Energy efficiency is a source of energy in its own right and it is a cost effective ways to support the transition to low carbon economy. Energy Efficiency simply means doing more with less energy, it is producing equal or more result with less energy. Am sure the questions running through our mind is “why do we need to be energy efficient” Below are just a few of the reasons why we need to inculcate and energy mindset in the hearts of Africans.
Buying energy star appliances, replacing incandescent bulb with energy efficient halogens compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) or light emitting diode LEDs and by turning off light bulbs and other appliances when not in use saves you 30-80 percent of energy bills thus saving you money that can be used on other needs, another amazing thing is power saving bulbs have longer life span, which means you might need to change 2-4 incandescent bulbs before changing a power saving bulb. It also promote the use of renewable energy sources such as solar because of the reduced power consumption, thereby reducing the number of battery storage, panels and the size of inverter resulting to low cost of installation. To properly understand how this work let makes some calculations.
Assuming we have a 5 bedroom flat. And each room is powered by a 100watts incandescent bulbs.
The total load
Total power consumed in 24hrs Note: 1000W=1KW
Let say the cost of power is 50cent per KWhr
Therefore cost of power in a day will be Note 100cent= $1
Let’s say we replace the incandescent bulb with a 15watt CFls
The total load
Total power consumed in 24hrs
Assuming the same cost of energy as above 50cent per KWhr
Therefore cost of power in a day will be
From the above calculations we have saved $3.42 in a year this will amount to
Energy efficiency measures promotes economic development by creating jobs for its citizens as people are employed during retrofitting of buildings, taking energy audits and maintenance of these systems. It also ensure business profitability as it increases production and reduces energy prices.
Energy Efficiency is very good for the environment as it helps us keep more resources on the earth longer by using just part of the required to meet needs. As less energy is required to power the same size of load, renewable energy sources use is encourage and the demand of energy from the coal power plant is reduced drastically thus quantity of greenhouse emission
It enhances national securities as we don’t need to depend so much on foreign nations thereby enhances energy independence. As the arm forces improve Energy Efficiency of their equipment, building and general practice they save money that can be used directly in defense programs, using electric and hybrid vehicles, energy efficient generations, and other energy saving measures means fewer convoys and fewer convoy means fewer casualties.
Energy efficiency enhances quality of life, it provide easy access to electricity as we employ smart growth technology and retrofitted homes keeps AC inside during the summer and heat in during the winter, Energy efficient light bulbs has long life therefore you don’t really need to change them.
It’s evident that putting Energy Efficient first will bring down cost for consumers, reduced our import dependency and redirect investment towards the kind of infrastructures that a smart secure and sustainable. The question here that we need to answer is what exactly we can do to promote Energy Efficiency.
Aside replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLS and LEDS as stated above here are some Energy Efficiency Practices.
We will recommend you buy devices and as your buy ensure you check their energy efficiency rating. But if you can’t afford a new device, just regulating the thermostats on your heating device, disconnecting appliances from the wall socket when they are not in use as leaving televisions, sound systems and computers plugged in produces a constant drain of electricity
You should also ensure that your house is properly insulated, apply sealant and weather stripping around windows and doors. Good ceiling and roof installation can make your house about 10 degrees cooler in hotter months and 5 degrees warmer during cooler weather. Heat-reflective paint on the roof can also help cool the house when the temperature outside is very hot. Sunny windows can let in warmth from the sun during colder temperatures and insulated curtains can block out heat in warm weather.
‘Consider using fans and small space heaters to control the temperature in the rooms you occupy instead of depending on a central system to control the temperature throughout the house. Be sure to use them only when you’re in the room and turn them off when you leave. Wash clothes in cold water and hang them out to dry instead of using a dryer. To the extent it’s possible, use energy-consuming appliances like washers and dryers outside peak load hours to reduce the strain on the energy system.
By: Umar Josiah Danbaba,
Renewable Energy Coordinator
Pan African Centre for Climate (PACC) Policy