A white paper authored by Schneider Electric suggests that meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets will fail unless “Active Energy Efficiency” becomes compulsory. They define “Active Energy Efficiency” as “effecting permanent change through measurement, monitoring and control of energy usage,” and contrast this to “Passive Energy Efficiency,” which is regarded as the installation of countermeasures against thermal losses, the use of low consumption equipment and so forth.
The paper concludes, “Without proper control, these measures often merely militate against energy losses rather than make a real reduction in energy consumed and in the way it is used.”
I suppose this is really the crux of the political debate about CFLs versus incandescent lightbulbs, and the many other similar points of discussion. Do we have some sort of “right” to use energy in any way we please? We understandably resent government telling us what to do, but can’t we see the legitimacy of standards that are aimed at ensuring a clean and life-supporting planet?
Obviously, the ideal situation is one in which people don’t need to be forced to do the right thing. But how close are we to that? In the meanwhile, I think we need to support the idea of environmental standards for all our business and consumer products – to the degree that they can be established fairly, without the undue influence of money and power.
Of course, that doesn’t sound like a piece of cake either ….