Monday, November 23, 2009
Energy Efficiency Carnival 2009 at the PWTC
Energy Efficiency Carnival 2009
Organised by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water
Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC)
Duration: Saturday, 21 Nov 2009 – Sunday, 22 Nov 2009
As soon as I learned of the Energy Efficiency Carnival 2009, I knew it would be of interest and of benefit to the members of the Malaysian Nature Society, and to me personally as a volunteer and a consumer.
Households use over 1/5 of the total energy consumed in the country. An average suburban family creates 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from home electricity use every year.
Efficient energy use and alternative (renewable/sustainable) energy sources would not only reduce the amount of CO2 generated, but also reduce the economic costs associated with the construction of energy generation, supply and transmission infrastructure, and at a more domestic level, the cost of replacing and repairing inefficient appliances and of energy consumption.
Energy Efficiency: For a cleaner, safer future!
Booths offering energy-related products and services received lots of attention from patrons. Although I found many of the booth operators reasonably helpful, many did not seem particularly well-informed. Perhaps I am just too used to Malaysian Nature Society volunteers who are formidable Know-It-Alls. There is, however, a glaring lack of information on the management of electronic waste. It’s all very well to urge us to replace inefficient appliances, but where would the waste go? There is only one licensed scheduled waste management company in Peninsular Malaysia, and their fees are way too high for domestic users. Perhaps the Ministry could work with City Hall and the local authorities to set up centralised electronic waste collection centres for urban municipalities.
The Smart & Cool Homes energy-efficient model house drew many interested visitors.
Visitors checking out energy-saving refrigerators offered by a vendor. I can attest to the energy consumption habits of decrepit old fridges. The pre-Falklands War refrigerator unit we used to have at our bachelor pad had a rubber seal so leaky that we probably ended up refrigerating the whole street. When we finally replaced it, our electricity bill went down by a whopping 30-40%!
Wind turbines for energy generation would be ideal for coastal areas.
A CETREE (Centre for Education, Training and Research in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) volunteer obligingly poses by their Energy Efficiency Snakes and Ladders Board. Our friends at CETREE were kind enough to give me two sets of the board game for our MNS Green Living booth and Eco Kids projects.
The Green Building Index rating and certification programme is an initiative under the Persatuan Akitek Malaysia. I ended up engaging in a friendly discourse with the booth operator on why it would make more sense to certify retrofitted existing buildings than exclusively certify new construction. Think of the fuel and energy costs involved in the clearing of land for development, transportation of construction materials, and the construction and transmission of energy and water to a new building!
The Energy Commission booth has a multimedia display and information boards on the Energy Star rating system. I hope the rating system will be made compulsory for all appliances in the market.
Human well-being, we have learned, is linked more closely than most people realise to the great marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Carbon emissions must not exceed Nature's capacity to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and neutralise the carbon.
The challenge is that the world's inhabitants will need to find politically acceptable ways to reduce their CO2 emissions level by 80%.
Personal choices are not a substitute for political action. Global problems could only be comprehensively solved through actual reforms in public policies that engage most people and institutions.
Similarly, however, political action is no substitute for leading lives that reflect our environmental values. As long as people keep buying energy guzzlers (e.g. big vehicles as status symbols, power-hungry electrical appliances), businesses and manufacturers will continue producing them.
The Energy Efficiency Carnival 2009 is a step in the right direction and it would be heartening to see more collaboration between the public and corporate sectors on environmental initiatives in future.