Efficiency is fashionable. Billions of Euros are being committed to increasing it. Why? When it comes to energy there is a whole spectrum of benefits: increased security, reduced poverty, job creation and many more. TEDx found out how Vienna is handling these issues and what our future could look like if we keep moving forward.
Efficiency has nothing to do with restriction. Efficient is who achieves goals – or even exceeds them – with the least possible effort. Thus, efficiency is a decisive factor for innovation. Take for instance modern kettles or induction stoves – innovative and efficient tools that save energy, time and money. If the dirty dishes land in a proper dishwasher after your meal, you probably saved up to 50% of electricity and water. That’s efficiency!
To find out how Vienna is handling these issues on a much larger scale, TEDx talked to our local energy providers Wien Energie. They told us that efficiency can be increased along the entire “road to renewable energy”. The core of their strategy is so unique that it was even named after our beloved city.
Viennese save energy by using heat from highly efficient power plants and waste recycling. This generates heat for buildings and hot water of around one third of our households and businesses. “Not only does this intelligent combination conserve valuable resources, but also the environment and the climate.”
Another pillar in the local strategy is to developing new and innovative ideas in the areas of decentralised production and renewable energies. Wind, photovoltaic and hydroelectric approaches all allow the people of Vienna to produce their own power with little effort. Integrating them into our daily routine will be another big step towards an efficient lifestyle.
At the moment, this development is not yet very pronounced, however, awareness is increasing. But how can we measure our success? What would the world look like if we increased energy efficiency? What if we reached our goals tomorrow?
Six Effects of Increased Efficiency
CLIMATE – using efficient methods can reduce harmful emissions. Currently, Wien Energie reduces the level of CO2 emissions by around 1.5 million tonnes per year compared to conventional forms of heating. Moreover, district heating protects resources, next to the environment and the climate. Our negative impact on the ecosystem will be reduced. Also, efficiently using local resources lowers our dependency on imported energy.
SECURITY – Producing electricity and heat together (cogeneration), using renewable energy sources, providing comprehensive advice on improving efficiency – intelligent use of these tools will clear out any worries related to reliability and security of supply that may have risen up due to global events such as the Crimea crisis.
JOBS – innovative technologies create new opportunities on the job market. Future-oriented, open-minded thinkers will find a large variety of options to aid a sustainable improvement.
POVERTY – 40% of our efficiency goals will have a direct impact on the users living environments. Those in risk of energy poverty will benefit from technological advances qualified counselling services to realise efficient and feasible energy options for everyone.
At the end of the day, change starts with the user. Less energy consumed means having to pay less – not only in terms of money. The TED talks by Jennifer Granholm and Amory Lovins mean to inspire those trying to grasp the big picture.
One thing remains: awareness is key. Only by understanding our goals – and why we have set them – can we create respective conditions. Conditions wich are necessary for a lively and growing market, so the sector can keep developing. In turn, what we have to aim for, is creating a spirit of efficiency.