Essay on How Modern Cities Can Become Energy Efficient

Essay on How Modern Cities Can Become Energy Efficient

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The nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan revealed the fragility of highly centralised energy systems that are not adapted into complex societies. Some technological solutions such as carbon dioxide capture or shale gas could even turn out to be mere illusions in the future. Meanwhile, energy costs are increasing every day, with social consequences. As a result, there have been calls for strong involvement of local authorities in formulating energy policies for cities. This will give rise to a more prominent place to decentralise policies on the basis of energy efficiency, energy savings as well the use of renewable energy. It is widely anticipated that the implementation of these policies by the relevant city authorities will play a prominent role in the transition to energy efficient cities (Energy-cities, 2011).
Energy-cities (2011) define energy efficiency as the use of less energy input while achieving or maintaining an equivalent level of economic activity. On the other hand, energy saving refers to a broader concept that also encompasses consumption reduction through decreased economic activity or behaviour change. Practically, the two are difficult to differentiate and are often used interchangeably although they are not synonymous (Kats, 2003).
In this regard, city authorities all over the world are increasingly adopting energy efficiency measures in a quest to become sustainable into the future. Consequently, this has led to the emergence of the term ‘green cities’ (Aulisi & Hanson, 2004). New York City, viewed by many as an urban, concrete jungle, was recently named the “greenest city" in the United States. This is mainly because most of its residents live in energy-efficient buildings, and use public transport, bicycl...


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Mazza, P. (2005). Powering the Smart Grid: A Northwest Initiative for Job Creation, Energy
Security and Clean, Affordable Electricity. Climate Solutions. Available at http://www.climatesolutions.org/pubs/pdfs/PoweringtheSmartGrid.pdf. (Accessed 6th October, 2011).

Owen, D. (2004).Why New York is the Greenest City in the U.S. New Yorker.

SustainableBusiness.com (2006). Climate Neutral Bonds: A Local Global Warming
Solution. Available at http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/features/feature_template.cfm?ID=1305 (Accessed 6th October, 2011).

US DOE.( 2004). Buildings Energy Databook. Retrieved from
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