Issues for Energy Conservation

Energy Demand and Consumption

Chester County is at an all-time high for energy demand and consumption. There is a need to reduce energy consumption. This can be as simple as turning off lights, machinery, and other energy consuming devices when they are not in use. In practice, this can be much more complex. Many devices like computers, televisions, or office building lighting systems are designed to be powered at some level 24 hours a day. Transportation creates energy demands, which can be reduced by driving less. However, even this can pose practical challenges when there are few other options for getting around.

Improving Energy Efficiency

Many homes, businesses, and government facilities operate using inefficient technology. Energy efficiency is important to consider when energy must be consumed. Innovative technological advances are improving energy efficiency and that is likely to continue over the coming years. However, energy efficiency can also be achieved through improving processes, such as the scheduling of trucks entering or leaving a manufacturing plant. Energy efficiency can also be promoted through the design of new construction or the redevelopment of exiting urban or suburban areas.

Revitalization, Reuse, and Recycling

The redevelopment of land and the recycling of used materials promote the conservation of energy. Redevelopment usually occurs in urban or suburban settings where there are existing roads and utility infrastructure. Thus, there is no need to spend energy building new infrastructure. Recycling saves energy because the metal, plastic, or wood that is recycled has already been processed from its raw state. Proper land use planning can help facilitate redevelopment. It can also create communities that have better opportunities to collect recyclables and process them at nearby facilities, thus reducing transportation energy.

Alternative and Sustainable Energy

Energy conservation also deals with the generation of energy, most notably electricity. Fuel of some sort, be it natural gas, coal, or nuclear power, is consumed to generate most of the electricity in the nation. Alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar power, are now becoming more commonplace and are more sustainable. New fuel technologies, such as biofuels, are also being developed. In the coming years, these new fuels may consume less energy for each kilowatt of electricity that is generated.

Restoring Energy Conservation Practices

There are many low-technology practices that can be used to conserve energy, from drying laundry outside to opening up a window in the summer. However, in some municipalities the homeowner association (HOA) covenants prevent laundry from being hung. Also, many modern buildings have windows that cannot be opened. It is therefore important to address these issues in land planning so that current energy consumptive practices can be modified.