1 minute read

Energy Efficiency

History Of Energy Concerns

Interest in energy efficiency is relatively new in the history of modern societies, although England's eighteenth century search for coal was prompted by the decline of the country's forest resources. For most of the past century, however, energy resources seemed to be infinite, for all practical purposes. Little concern was expressed about the danger of exhausting the world's supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas, its major energy resources.

The turning point in that attitude came in the 1970s when the major oil-producing nations of the world suddenly placed severe limits on the amounts of petroleum that they shipped to the rest of the world. This oil embargo forced major oil users such as the United States, Japan, and the nations of Western Europe to face for the first time the danger of having insufficient petroleum products to meet their basic energy needs. Use of energy resources suddenly became a matter of national and international discussion.

Energy efficiency can be accomplished in a number of different ways. One of the most obvious is conservation; that is, simply using energy resources more carefully. For example, people might be encouraged to turn out lights in their home, to set their thermostats at lower temperatures, and to use bicycles rather than automobiles for transportation. Energy efficiency in today's world also means more complex and sophisticated approaches to the way in which energy is used in industrial, commercial, and residential settings.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Electrophoresis (cataphoresis) to EphemeralEnergy Efficiency - History Of Energy Concerns, Energy Efficiency In Buildings, Transportation, Energy Efficiency In Industry, Other Techniques For Increasing Energy Efficiency