Energy facts

  • A typical PC left on all the time produces 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • A laser printer operating without a standby facility will use £12 of electrical energy per year. If left on at night, weekends or during holidays, this increases to £60 per year.
  • Switching off vending machines at nights and weekends reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 1 tonne annually per machine.
  • An increase of only 1oC in a room's temperature will increase a heating bill by 6-10%.
  • A photocopier left on over night uses enough energy to make 5,300 photocopies

Global warming

  • Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
  • The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century's last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennia, according to a number of climate studies. And the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.
  • The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.
  • Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.
  • Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.
  • Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in response to stress—ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent. Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency and intensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise.
  • An upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves, and strong tropical storms, is also attributed in part to climate change by some experts.

  • About 81 tons of mercury are emitted into the atmosphere each year as a result of electric power generation. Mercury is the most toxic heavy metal in existence.
  • Burning fossil fuels to produce energy releases carbon dioxide and other global-warming-causing gases into the atmosphere. Global warming will increase the incidence of infectious diseases (including equine encephalitis and Lyme disease), death from heat waves, blizzards, and floods, and species loss.
  • The transportation sector consumed 40% of the nation's energy; this sector is 97% dependent on petroleum.
  • Transportation accounts from 70 to 90% of total carbon monoxide emissions.
  • Transportation accounts from 45 to 50% of total emissions of nitrogen oxides. Other sources are chemicals (notably nitrates) industrial production and combustion of fossil fuels in thermal power plants.
  • Transportation accounts from 40 to 50% of total emissions of HC/VOC. They can be emitted by incomplete combustion (70%), during refueling (10%) or by evaporation from storage units (20%), particularly gas tanks. For instance, a car parked overnight during summer emits approximately 4 grams of HC/VOC. Other important sources are petrochemical (plastics and solvent) industries.
  • Transportation accounts for around 25% of total emissions of particulates. Diesel engines are the main emitters. Other important sources are thermal power plants using coal.
  • Smog is strongly linked with transportation and industrial activities, notably in urban areas. Smog is particularly dense during a thermal inversion (static regional air masses that enable the accumulation of pollutants).
  • Diesel and gasoline engines are the major sources of odors accounted by transportation. Odors are particularly prevalent during smog conditions. Odors are at worst an annoyance, but they are linked with the presence of harmful air pollutants like sulfur dioxide, ozone and HC/VOC. People tend to stay or move away from areas having a significant prevalence of odors.
  • Transportation accounts for around 30% of total carbon dioxide emissions in developed countries (15% worldwide).
  • About 66% of carbon dioxide emissions from transportation come from the combustion of gasoline, 16% from diesel fuel and 15% from jet fuel. Carbon dioxide emissions by transportation have the following modal breakdown: cars (43%), light trucks (20%), heavy trucks (14%), airplanes (14%), rail and marine (7%) and non-oil based (2%). Other significant natural sources are volcanic eruptions and the metabolic respiration of living organisms (including decomposition).
  • For the 2 billion people without access to electricity, it would be cheaper to install solar panels than to extend the electrical grid.
  • Within 15 years, renewable energy could be generating enough electricity to power 40 million homes and offset 70 days of oil imports.
  • Providing power for villages in developing countries is a fast-growing market for photovoltaics.
A one kilowatt PV system each month:
  • prevents about 150 lbs. of coal from being mined;
  • prevents about 300 lbs. of CO2 from entering the atmosphere;
  • keeps about 105 gallons of water from being consumed;
  • keeps NO and SO2 from being released into the environment;
  • ·Wind power is the fastest-growing energy source in the world.
  • Using 100 kWh of wind power each month is equivalent to:
    · planting 1/2 acre of trees;
    · not driving 2,400 miles;
Solar thermal
  • Research shows that an average household with an electric water heater spends about 25% of its home energy costs on heating water.
  • Solar water heaters offered the largest potential savings, with solar water-heater owners saving as much as 50% to 85% annually on their utility bills over the cost of electric water heating.
  • You can expect a simple payback of 4 to 8 years on a well-designed and properly installed solar water heater. (Simple payback is the length of time required to recover your investment through reduced or avoided energy costs.)
  • Solar water heaters do not pollute. By investing in one, you will be avoiding carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and the other air pollution and wastes created when your utility generates power or you burn fuel to heat your household water. When a solar water heater replaces an electric water heater, the electricity displaced over 20 years represents more than 50 tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions alone.
Alternative fules
  • Using biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine substantially reduces emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter.
  • Biodiesel:
    · can be used at 100% levels or mixed in any proportion with No. 2 diesel or No. 1 diesel;
    · contains no nitrogen or aromatics;
    · typically contains less than 15 ppm sulfur - Does not contribute to sulfur dioxide emissions;
    · has characteristically low carbon monoxide, particulate, soot and hydrocarbon emissions;
    · contains 11% oxygen by weight;
    · has the highest energy content (BTUs) of any alternative fuel and is comparable to No. 1 diesel;
Energy efficiency
  • Just by using the "off the shelf" energy-efficient technologies available today, we could cut the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting our homes and workplaces by up to 80%.
  • Replacing one incandescent light bulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb means 1,000 pounds less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere and $67 dollars is saved on energy costs over the bulb's lifetime.
  • A decrease of only 1% in industrial energy use would save the equivalent of about 55 million barrels of oil per year, worth about $1 billion.

Copyright 2005 ESD Bulgaria. All rights reserved.