Climate change efforts linked to increased energy efficiency

October 26, 2012

Though the development of new energy supply technologies is likely to positively impact climate change efforts, a new report outlined how there may be a more effective way to counter the problem of waste and overuse of energy resources.

According to, a new study published by Nature Magazine showed that twice as much effort is spent on developing new energy supply technologies than is being directed toward improving the efficiency with which the resources are being used.

Dr. Charlie Wilson, co-author of the study and professor at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA, noted that the perception of the best ways to control climate change is often too far-reaching.

"About two-thirds of all public innovation efforts are directed toward energy supply technologies. It is vital that innovations in renewable energy supply continue, but the imbalance in spending needs to be redressed urgently to mitigate climate change," Wilson said in the report. "Evidence strongly suggests that energy end-use and efficiency currently stand as the most effective ways to mitigate climate change."

Perception is everything when it comes to acquiring funding, and the idea of a revolutionary technological advance is often more attractive than talking about efficiency. The study looked to highlight how this is the main problem and impediment to progress in the energy industry, according to

"Efficiency gets short shrift in both public energy research and development, and in private market investments alike," said co-author of the study, Professor Arnulf Grubler of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. "In contrast, improvements in technologies like domestic appliances and more energy-efficient transport are underrepresented given their potential for mitigating climate change."

This is why simple retrofit projects are often more practical than major renovations for commercial buildings. Attacking the problem at its source is a better way to deal with energy issues than tearing down a structure and starting over.

Efforts like the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) are hoping that the commercial real estate sector will begin to reflect these type of efficiency based changes. Retrofitting a building is something that helps to save money and resources, and companies and the environment can both benefit from the changes to the industry.

Since the global power demand grows at an annual pace of 2.8 percent, according to an article in The National, it may be more relevant to adjust existing structures to limit consumption levels than to just construct new structures.