Energy Efficiency Special Report – Introduction

In this month's special report we focus on the often overlooked issue of energy efficiency as the cost-effective path to cutting carbon emissions, both in the West and across the developing world.

We begin at home, with a guide to cutting the annual six tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by the average UK household from Jeremy Leggett, CEO of renewables company Solarcentury. Starting with energy efficiency as the cheapest option and ending with more costly options like PV panel roofs, he takes us down the practical route to zero-emissions.

But the massive amounts of energy wasted by UK homes are only a small fraction of a global problem, as an article from the global low carbon partnership REEEP points out. Developing economies will account for 85% of the growth in energy production between now and 2030, and much of the growth in new housing worldwide, so improved energy efficiency from China to Russia is key to reducing global emissions.

The wider subject of home design in the developing world is the subject of an article from Christian Aid’s John McKie, putting into focus the way home design worldwide is adapting to a changing climate.

Buildings are of course not the only culprits when it comes to energy waste – improved efficiency further up the supply chain is tackled in articles on electricity storage systems that make wind farms more efficient in their output, and on a voltage optimiser that cuts energy waste from motors and other appliances.

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