3 Case study 2: Refrigerators and climate change

3.4 Discussion

In this second case study, I have described two different trends in energy use by cold appliances over the last few decades. On the one hand the efficiency with which appliances use electrical energy has improved but, in spite of this, their consumption of electricity has increased significantly in recent decades. Since 2000 consumption has started to decline, probably as a result of the introduction of minimum energy standards. The trend will only continue if we demand and use the most energy efficient machines.

The focus of attention in this section has been on the end use of electricity and the consumer, but I wouldn't like to give the impression that this is the only approach to the energy problem. There is also plenty of scope for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels at the supply end, for example by changing to renewable sources of energy such as wind and water power. Both approaches will almost certainly be part of any move to a sustainable use of energy. What I hope I have been able to demonstrate in this case study is that there is considerable potential for energy savings.