Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

Energy Consumption in the USA

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Over the last 50 years energy consumption has grown faster than energy generation in the USA. This has lead to a reliance on foreign oil imports to make up the growing short fall in energy creation. In 2009, the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data showed 37% of America’s energy came from petroleum, 21% from coal, and 25% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 9% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewable are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy.

It is pitiful to note that despite the last administration’s and this one’s keeness to promote renewable energy sources, nothing has really changed. America is hooked on petroleum. It is this addiction that has lead many to think that American foreign policy rather than being about fighting terror or bringing democracy and human rights to the world is simply about securing oil rights and oil pipe line access.

Another telling figure is that the third biggest consumer sector for energy in the USA is residential. People spend 90% of their lives indoors and this is being reflected in the high cost of lighting, heating, water heating etc. In the residential sector it is space heating which takes up the largest portion of the energy (32%). it is thus very clear that people should improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

This can be achieved by improving the insulation of a home by installing vinyl windows and putting insulation in the roof space. Another tactic is to design houses that trap heat more effectively. Solar panels are also a good idea to reduce the demand on the national grid.

Another important thing to do is to use programmable thermostats. A good thermostat can be programmed to match the heating requirements of a house with the schedules of people in a house. That way the set point can be lowered for the times when people are out or in bed. It is estimated by Energy Star that the correct use of a programmable thermostat can reduce heating bills by as much as 30% in a year.

If we all did more to improve the energy efficiency of our homes we could save the US enough energy to perhaps make the country less dependent on foreign oil. That would have a huge impact on not just American lives but on the lives of people all over the world.