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In the battle against climate change and carbon emissions policy makers tend to focus on the supply side of things. They concentrate emission reduction efforts on power plants, heating systems, and cars, and completely forget about the demand side of the equation.
A new study has been published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, which looks at the differences in energy demand amongst different houses.
The study was carried out by a team of scientists led by Dominik Saner, who found that that energy used to run personal vehicles added to the energy used to run a home, actually makes up for more than 70 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
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This means that tackling the demand side of energy use could be a far more effective way of reducing carbon emissions.
The study monitored more than 3,000 houses in a town in Switzerland, and discovered that 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to just 21 percent of the homes. This means that implementing energy conservation techniques in just a small number of houses could have a far larger impact on the volume of carbon dioxide emitted.
Science Daily wrote that the reason that a few families had such a disproportionate environmental footprint, was due to larger living spaces, that required more energy to heat, light, cool, etc., and longer commutes for workers, therefore meaning that they drive the car more.
The study concluded that “if their emissions could be halved, the total emissions of the community would be reduced by 25 percent.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com