Benefits of Saving Energy for the Environment, Economy & Health

Benefits of Saving Energy – Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world with a population of more than 273 million people in 2020. Indonesia’s population density has an impact on very large energy consumption. Launching from Statista, Indonesia is ranked 12th in primary energy consumption in the world. The data also shows that Indonesia is the largest consumer of primary energy in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia does have abundant energy resources. In fact, Indonesia’s main foreign exchange earnings come from the oil and gas sector. However, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources predicts that Indonesia’s gas reserves will run out in the next 20 years, while coal reserves will run out in 63 years.

Energy is essential for life and survival. To overcome this, various steps are being taken to secure oil and gas reserves, one of which is the use of renewable energy. Unfortunately, switching to renewable energy requires a lot of time and money. This is because various infrastructures need to be built by the government to support the use of alternative energy.

While the use of renewable energy is still being applied in stages, both the public and the government need to conserve energy use. Not only to secure national reserves, saving energy also has a healthier environment.

The following is an explanation of energy saving and the benefits that can be obtained from saving energy.

Energy Saving with Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

When discussing energy saving, we will refer to the concepts of energy efficiency and energy conservation. Both are two different things although they are often associated or even considered the same. Improvements in energy efficiency can be a means to achieve energy conservation, but not the other way around.

Energy Efficiency

Smith and Parmenter in the book Energy Management Principles: Applications, Benefits, Savings define energy efficiency as the use of alternative methods, processes or equipment to produce certain results (products or services, for example) with less energy. Implementation of this type of change is largely dependent on the availability of technology and economic justification.

According to Martinez, Ebenhack, and Wagner in the book Energy Efficiency: Concepts and Calculations, energy efficiency refers to the ability of energy conversion devices or processes to successfully convert one form of energy into another form that is more useful, while minimizing unwanted energy conversions that exist due to the law thermodynamics, such as low-level heat loss that cannot be used for a useful purpose. In addition, efficiency improvements refer specifically to technical improvements in devices and processes, which reduce the cost of any excess inputs while maintaining the same level of energy service over a measurable timeframe.

In an energy conversion process, for example coal that is burned to be converted into electric power, there is always energy that is wasted in its stages. This naturally occurs because it is a result of the laws of thermodynamics. However, the company or various parties involved will always try to minimize wasted energy. Usually they will change technical related factors such as device or method updates while still reducing input costs. This step is called energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency also sometimes refers to unit energy consumption which determines the amount of energy required to produce a given amount of product or service from a particular device or process. The smaller the amount of energy used to produce a number of valuable products or services, the more efficient the device or process is. An example of unit energy is the calculation of how many joules of energy are needed to produce one ton of steel or how many liters of fuel are needed to propel a vehicle 100 kilometers. In order to reduce unit energy consumption in a device or process, thus increasing efficiency, the device or process needs to undergo design or operational changes.

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation is often considered synonymous with energy efficiency. Though both have different concepts. Energy conservation does not refer to technical improvements in processes, but to policy decisions and behavioral choices. Efficiency is a technical function of the relative inflow of energy into a usable form. Meanwhile, choosing to eliminate an activity that does not increase efficiency, but can lead to measurable energy savings is called conservation.

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According to Baharuddin and Ismail in the journal Development of Energy Saving Conservation for Educational , energy conservation is an effort made to reduce energy consumption in order to preserve resources for the future and reduce environmental pollution. This can be achieved through efficient use of energy (when energy use is reduced while achieving the same results) or by reducing the consumption of energy services.

Conservation refers to actions to reduce energy use. These measures could include savings options to reduce energy consumption activities or incentives to use more efficient technologies to do the same with less energy input. Conservation involves making choices, which often include decisions to eliminate some activities or change the way they are carried out.

Actions included in energy conservation can also be in the form of decisions to seek or invest in technology improvements. Policies can be designed to demand the development of energy efficiency (eg, fuel economy standards) and to encourage the development of energy efficiency products (eg, use of equipment labeled as energy efficient). This causes the concept of energy conservation to overlap with the concept of energy efficiency.

However, many conservation choices are voluntary behaviors to avoid or delay consumption. These choices can range from somewhat obvious and non-coercive choices, such as turning off lights and electronics when not in use, to choices that can reduce benefits, such as turning off the thermostat in the winter.

Efficiency and conservation are certainly related, though not identical. Improved efficiency usually leads to energy savings.

Benefits of Saving Energy

1. Economic Benefits

Saving energy can provide a number of important economic benefits for people, communities and entire national economies. Saving energy also impacts the economy both directly and indirectly, by influencing individuals, businesses or institutions directly involved in investing and by influencing others who are less directly involved. The following are the economic benefits that can be obtained by saving energy.

a. Reduced energy consumption costs

Saving energy is not only aimed at supporting environmental protection. By saving energy, we can also save costs incurred to pay for energy use.

An example is by turning off any electricity that is not needed, we save on electricity bills. Choosing to take a shower instead of a bathtub is an effort to reduce water consumption or water bills. If we save fuel energy by choosing public transportation or turning off the vehicle’s engine while waiting, we also save on fuel expenses.

In short, the energy savings that we do also have an impact on cost savings. Our revenue budget can be bigger by saving energy. This does not only apply to the household context, the reduced costs can also be felt by companies that run energy management programs.

b. Higher property values

Housing or buildings that implement energy saving (eco residence and eco building) have a higher selling price. If an eco building is intended for economic activities such as offices or buying and selling activities, energy consumption can be reduced. This has an impact on reducing the company’s production costs.

In addition to saving expenses, eco residences and eco buildings also have a good impact on the health of their residents. This is because buildings or residential areas that apply energy efficiency will create a healthier and cleaner environment from pollution. This reason makes this type of building have a higher selling value.

c. Increase in economic output

Energy-saving programs that stimulate new investment and spending within a country can increase output , which is defined as the total value of all goods and services produced in an economy, including all intermediate goods purchased and all value added. Higher sales of energy efficient goods in the local economy, increased government spending, greater levels of investment, and higher exports of energy efficient or renewable energy products by country industries will increase output .

In addition, the results of the production of goods and services can be increased by implementing energy savings. A company that saves energy will experience cost cuts for energy consumption. Companies can also allocate these funds for the production process, so that the amount of goods or services produced can increase.

d. Improved innovation

Energy savings can also result in increased innovation. Cost savings obtained from the results of saving energy can be used to create innovations or new breakthroughs for a business. Increasing innovation is one way for businesses to continue to grow and create profits.

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e. Increasing competitiveness

With increased innovation, competitiveness in the market economy will also be boosted through funds obtained from energy savings. Various businesses or companies continue to strive to improve innovation to compete with competitors. This energy saving also plays an important role in creating a healthy business climate.

f. Creating new jobs

One way that can be done to save energy is to carry out energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Both of these programs can create jobs. These jobs can be short-term or long-term, created directly from energy efficiency and renewable energy activities (for example, in companies that are growing due to increased demand for their products) and indirectly through economic multiplier effects (for example, from restaurants and retail stores that get more customers because of new job).

g. Increased revenue

Increases in net income associated with energy savings can occur due to increased employment or wages. The income effect of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments includes changes in personal income or disposable income.

2. Environmental Benefits

Environmental benefits are the main benefits that can be felt from energy saving measures. The less energy we use, the less energy we need to produce ready-to-use forms of energy. This means less damage to the earth.

a. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

According to the New Mexico Energy Association, United States (US), the main cause of the greenhouse effect is vehicle and factory exhaust. By saving energy through driving behavior, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of environment-based driving behavior are reducing the intensity of driving private vehicles, using public transportation more often, turning off vehicle engines while waiting, and many more.

Meanwhile, a factory needs to save energy by implementing energy management that supports energy efficiency and conservation. Factories that adopt energy-saving programs are expected to reduce the disposal of products that are destructive to the environment.

b. Maintain energy reserves

It is undeniable that the world is still very dependent on the supply of primary energy or energy that comes from nature and is not renewable. Environment-based daily behavior such as saving energy is very important to maintain energy supply. By reducing energy consumption, including water, fuel, and electricity, we are helping to maintain these energy reserves.

c. Energy price moderation

By conserving energy reserves, we also support the stability or moderation of world energy prices. Because, the scarcity of a product or conditions when demand is greater than supply, will result in an increase in the price of the product.

d. Air quality improvement

Pollution released from power plants contributes to climate change. Coal-fired power plants also release radiation. With small steps, starting with saving electricity, we will contribute to improving air quality. Energy efficiency and renewable energy policies that reduce air pollutant criteria can also improve air quality.

3. Health Benefits

Air pollution is cited as a major problem for many human health problems. In fact, a study found that air pollution is also a cause of cancer. Energy savings that have an impact on improving air quality produce direct health benefits for humans and other living things. Improved air quality can also strengthen ecosystem health, increase crop yields, and increase visibility.

With improved public health, the phenomenon of premature death, asthma attacks, and respiratory and heart diseases, as well as other health hazards can be avoided. There are fewer diseases that can infect the community, so students and employees take fewer sick days. Healthy employees will create better business productivity. Fewer worker deaths can also generate sustainable economic benefits for the country.

Conclusion

Saving energy is not just a lifestyle or a trend today. Saving energy is an obligation for every human being. Rapid climate change and a drastic decrease in the earth’s temperature are the main reasons for living an environment-based life.

Saving energy is a very simple action that can be done to save the environment. We can start from small things such as turning off electricity when not in use, saving water use, reducing the use of private vehicles and so on.

Apart from conserving natural resources, saving energy also has an impact on other sectors such as the economy and health. Sinaumed’s can support the productivity of economic activities through small actions to save energy. Creating a healthier and more comfortable environment to live in is another impact that can be obtained through saving energy.