What if I told you that we could save money, cut carbon emissions and it wouldn’t cost a cent? Guaranteed. Would you do it? The solution is something so simple; it could be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home, or be incorporated into your workplace and entire organisation.
People x Energy = Carbon emissions
As our population continues to increase, so will our carbon emissions. Considering the population has increased from 2 billion to over 7 billion in the last hundred years, it’s not looking likely that we can decrease the people in this equation – so we need to look at the energy.
Where we live and where we work use enormous amounts of energy, and in Australia, some 40 percent of energy is consumed in the built environment. In particular, a large amount of energy is used heating and cooling the spaces we occupy.
How can air conditioning save energy in our built environments?
It turns out that many workplaces heat and cool the built environment to a fixed 22 degrees. This condition was set by the US back in the 1950s and was actually based on the thermal comfort level of a 44 year old man. Considering we have a huge range of demographics in the workplace and around the home, it doesn’t make much sense to set an arbitrary number to any single person for the air conditioning.
An adaptable environment
Each person’s thermal comfort level is different, so we wear more or less clothes to adapt to the temperature conditions on any given day. If people can do this, why don’t we ask our built environments to do the same – to adapt?
Instead of a fixed 22 degrees, our built environments should implement a temperature range between 19 to 25 degrees. This means not heating past 19 degrees and not cooling above 25 degrees.
What are the savings?
As a case study, let’s look at the United Nations, who did this very same temperature range experiment in their headquarters. In just a month, they estimated the savings at US$100,000.
Now let’s look at Australia. If we implemented the 19 to 25 degree temperature range in office buildings and shopping centres nationally, it would save $100,000,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year - and it would not cost a cent.
If we ran this idea around the world, and included residential property too, we are talking about the savings of billions of dollars and millions of tonnes every year.
So let’s not wait any longer – it’s time to create a 19 to 25 degree world.