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Energy conservation methods

Some of the methods for conserving energy around the home include adjusting the thermostat to reduce the use of heat and air conditioning, conserving water, use of energy efficient appliances, and conservation landscaping. Methods for conserving energy on a large scale include improving fuel economy for vehicles, using BEV's and hybrid vehicles, using public transportation, and implementing green building design features. Created by Khan Academy.

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Video transcript

- [Narrator] In this video, we're going to talk about energy conservation or trying to save or lower the amount of energy that we use. Now, a lot of y'all might already have a sense that that is a good thing while others of you might say, hey why can't I just use as much energy as possible? Why should I try to use less energy? And there's several answers to that question. The number one reason is energy has a huge impact on the environment. Most of the energy we produce. And we'll talk about that in a little bit has the by-product of emitting greenhouse gases which are contributing to global warming. And then on top of that, it has implications to society the infrastructure around us. And it has frankly impacts on your and your family's pocketbooks because energy costs money. So let's first think about the household. So this chart right over here, which is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration says residential site electricity consumption by end use. And I want to stress that it says electricity consumption because electricity consumption is not the only energy consumption in a household. Depending on where you are it might be around 50 or 60% of consumption but natural gas is another major source. And in some cases even petroleum. But when you look over here, the major uses of energy in a household are air conditioning and that's going to be especially pronounced if you live in a hot and humid part of the country or part of the world. You have space heating which is what most of us associate with heaters. And then you have water heating. Many of y'all probably don't appreciate when you take those long hot showers that it took energy to warm up that water. And then you have lighting. You have appliances after that. So as you as an individual wanted to conserve energy it makes a lot of sense to look at things like this. And so if you wanna conserve energy at home use less air conditioning if you can. Use less heating if you can. Take shorter showers or maybe not as hot showers. And showers not only have the energy consumption from heating the water but it also has the energy consumption that's happening at the water treatment plant to clean your water and to process your water that also takes energy. And right over here is a refrigerator. And if you have an older refrigerator or a less efficient refrigerator that's going to use a lot more energy to do the same work. And once again, it's not just impact on the climate. It's going to save you and your family money by using less energy. But as we'll see, energy consumption is not just a phenomenon inside of the house. What we see here is U.S. energy consumption by source and sector in 2020. And this is a little bit of a complex diagram but it's telling us a lot of information Here on the left it tells us our sources of energy. So 35% of the energy in the United States comes from petroleum. Then 34% from natural gas. Then 12% from renewable energy. That'd be things like wind power or solar power. Then you have 10% from coal and 9% from nuclear. And then not only does this tell us where the energy is coming from it's telling us how it is being used. So we could see 36% in the industrial sector. So that's all of the factories the manufacturing that produces all of the goods and services and raw materials that we have in society. 35% of our energy in the United States is used for transportation, moving things around. Moving ourselves around, but also moving stuff around. And then 17% is residential. 12% is commercial. So this would be things like the energy that the shopping mall all is using or the energy that's being used in an office building. This little gray and black box down here is interesting because it shows the role of electricity in this whole scheme. Sometimes something like petroleum might be directly used by say an industrial user, but sometimes that petroleum is then used for electricity generation which can then be used by these various sectors. Similarly, something like coal could be used directly or it could be used to produce electricity. Now one of the eye-popping things that I didn't appreciate until I saw this diagram are the electrical system energy losses, roughly 65% of the energy is lost. If you have a more efficient electrical grid or we know when to produce the electricity. So it more matches up with the demand. Then we can once again conserve energy as a society. And so that's why it's important to realize some people think, hey, if I'm using electricity or if I'm using an electric car that maybe has less impact on the environment. Well it depends where that electricity is coming from. An electric car actually gives us the option of not necessarily using petroleum. It gives us the option of potentially using renewable energy or nuclear energy. But that electricity could be coming from things that significantly impact the environment. But when you generally look at this, it tells us that as a society we have to think about things like investing in public transportation so that we conserve energy there. This right over here is a cement plant. Are there ways to produce these things that are more efficient that use less energy. And then there's regulations that might motivate us as individuals to say carpool or drive electric cars which once again, aren't necessarily going to be clean. It depends where that electricity comes from. But it gives us the option of using renewable sources. So I'll leave you there. Energy conservation is a complex topic but a very very very important one. But hopefully this gives you a start on how you can look at how energy is being used in the world where it comes from and how you can make a change both at the personal level, right over here. And as a member of our democracy at the societal level