By: Muhammad Razin Abdullah

 

Introduction

Energy is a vital factor in our everyday life. People use energy for transportation, cooking, air conditioning, watching TV, using computer, charging phone and many other activities. Nowadays, the dependency on energy is very high; without energy, the economy or even health could be dangerously threatened. With an evermore increase in energy demand, the energy supply is struggling to fulfil the demand. In Indonesia, the energy sector is still dominated by fossil fuel, which is a non-renewable source that depleted each day. Moreover, people are becoming more aware of the environment, some of them already make efforts to reduce their carbon emissions. At the same time, with a continuous rise of energy prices, many people are keen to do something. Therefore, a strategic plan to maintain energy consumption is urgently needed, not only from the government but also from the consumer.

Energy Saving: Efficiency and Conservation

Saving energy could be done in two ways, energy efficiency and energy conservation. So, what do they mean? Behind those fancy names, energy efficiency and energy conservation simply mean using less energy to do our daily activities. However, there are some differences between those two, where the first one is saving energy by using technology that requires less energy to perform the same function, and the latter is saving energy through behavioral adaptation (Table 1). For instance, replacing an incandescent light bulb with a light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb or a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb that requires less energy to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency. Meanwhile, turning off the unnecessary lights and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy (Siregar, 2018).

Table 1. The differences between energy efficiency and energy conservation (Siregar, 2018).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY ENERGY CONSERVATION
Focus on the appliance or machinery Focus on human behavior as an energy consumer
Utilize technology with less energy consumption to produce the same level of output All kind of behavior and action of decreasing the energy consumption level
Or, using the same amount of energy to produce more output Regardless of the level of service
Generally, it requires a fee or investment Can be done without any fee

 

Uprising Trend of Energy Consumption

Industry, transportation and household sector are the dominant energy consumers in Indonesia. Figure 1 indicates that the final energy consumption dropped in 2013 but showed another upward trend in 2013-2018. In 2018, the industry sector accounted for 33.51% of final energy consumption share, while transportation and household contribute at 45.06% and 14.76%, respectively, as seen in Figure 2. In order to control the level of energy consumption, government interceptions will play a major role, especially in the industry and transportation sector. However, people still could contribute significantly to preserve energy consumption by implementing the energy efficiency and energy conservation while doing their daily activities, at home, at work and on a trip.

Figure 1. Indonesia’s final energy consumption by sector (PYC Data Center, 2019).

Figure 2. Indonesia’s share of final energy consumption by sector (PYC Data Center, 2019).

Further about the household energy consumption, there are two major energy products used for the household sector in Indonesia, namely electricity and LPG. Even though final energy consumption in household sector might not as massive as in the industry and transportation sector, but the electricity use in household sector is quite huge. The household sector accounted for 34.6% of total electricity consumption in 2018, short of 10.1% from the industry sector at 44.7% (Figure 3). What more concerning is that the use of electricity and LPG continuously grow for the last 10 years (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Indonesia’s electicity consumption per sector (PYC Data Center, 2019).

Figure 4. Indonesia’s energy consumption in household sector (PYC Data Center, 2019).

People Contribution to Energy Saving

The householders have an important role in reducing the energy consumption level, especially for transportation and household sector. For the transportation sector, we could contribute by reducing the use of private vehicles and switching to public transportation or, if possible, riding a bicycle or walking, especially for a short distance trip. At the same time, energy use in household sector could be reduced by replacing old light bulbs with an LED bulb or turning off unnecessary lights.

Table 2 shows what you can do to lessen energy consumption, resulting in lower energy bills, reduction of CO2 emission and achieving more sustainable energy future.

Table 2. Opportunity for people’s contributions to energy efficiency and conservation (Siregar, 2018).

Sector Energy Conservation Energy Efficiency
Transportation
  • Ride a bicycle or walking rather than using a fuelled vehicle
  • Use public transport
  • Drive at or below 90 km/h
  • Buy a small vehicle with less fuel consumption
  • Choose a more efficient fuel type
Household
  • Turn off unused lights and electronic devices and pull out the plugs
  • Open windows for natural light and air circulation
  • Only cool the room when you are in it
  • Only use the washing machine/dishwasher when full
  • Replace fluorescent lamps with LED
  • Replace old inefficient electronics with a more efficient one
  • Start using IoT based electronic devices/lights to control it remotely

Bridging the Gap

Indonesia has put some efforts to address energy efficiency and conservation through a number of regulations and socializations. However, the energy saving campaign for the household sector in Indonesia is arguably still minimum. The socializations have not reached every element of the householders, and alone is not enough to encourage people to save energy. Several studies indicate that there is a gap between knowing and implementing the energy saving act. A study from Pelenur (2018) revealed varied viewpoints from British respondents, which divided into three categories: 1) energy use in terms of the environment; 2) energy in relation to money, and; 3) apathy towards energy. It concludes that people with good knowledge of environmental issues and actively concerned about energy efficiency may not always be resulted in implementing energy efficiency in their households.

Pelenur (2018) suggested that incentives are needed to encourage people, even one with a strong awareness of energy saving and environmental issues, to perform energy efficiency measures. The incentives could be 1) Rebates for energy efficient purchases, in which the customer will receive the returned portion of the purchase price after they pay the full amount. 2) Tax incentives for energy efficiency if the householders have made energy efficiency improvements in prior years. 3) Financial incentives in the form of sales or property tax exemptions for purchasing or installing qualifying equipment. 4) Energy efficiency loans, to help the householders in investing in energy efficiency, which is usually have a high upfront cost of equipment and installation. In addition, Pelenur (2018) also recommended that instead of promoting monetary savings from doing energy efficiency, information campaigns should highlight the costs of inefficient behaviors or poor performing technology. Highlighting costs as opposed to savings could be more effective as several studies show that losses or disadvantages have a greater impact on preferences than gains or advantages.

Furthermore, in order to transform a concept into action, one of the strategic measures that could be adopted by the government to encourage energy efficiency and conservation is a deposit payment scheme for energy use. This scheme already implemented in the Netherland. The deposit payment scheme will take upfront payment depends on the household’s historical energy bills and will recalculate it at the end of the year. When the households use more energy than the previous year, they will get billed an additional fee, which represents the cost of their excessive use of energy. On the other hand, when they save more energy than the previous year, they will get an “incentive,” which is their saving from their efficiency and conservation act.

Besides, there is another interesting act on energy saving, which was proposed by the Energy Neighbourhoods. The Energy Neighbourhoods project is an energy saving campaign that focuses on behavior change. The concept behind Energy Neighbourhoods is that households join in a challenge to save as much energy as possible simply by changing the way they do things around the home, for instance, killing stand by or turn off unnecessary lights. Each neighborhood is supported by an “Energy master”, an enthusiastic individual who acts as the coordinator for the group and who receives specific training to help their group make its energy savings. Then, the efforts on energy saving were monitored through the use of modern internet tools and calculators, as well as by carrying out a survey on the participants.

The Energy Neighbourhoods provides the participants with Energy Neighbourhood handbook – a step by step guide through with detailed instructions on how to use the energy saving calculator on the website. It also provides a checklist to help identify energy hungry appliances and practices in their home. Moreover, every two weeks, it delivers a set of particular top tips on how to save energy around the home. At the end of the project, those groups that made savings of 9% or more were rewarded with certificates and prizes, receiving local media attention for their efforts.

The 2nd Energy Neighbourhood project, the Energy Neighbourhoods2, has involved 16 partners in 16 countries across Europe. The use of competition and the social aspect of working as part of a team offers additional motivations for the people to participate in this project. The Energy Neighbourhoods2 resulted in 10% household energy savings across Europe, a reduction of 5,661,872 kWh and saving of nearly 2,425.18 tons of CO2 (Energy Neighbourhoods, 2013). The Energy Neighbourhoods also introduced an energy saving calculation tool that provided reliable data to track the teams’ effort on energy saving. The calculation tool was vital to help participants visualize their energy use and the energy savings they were making. At the end of The Energy Neighbourhoods2 project, more than 1,400 Neighborhoods of around 14,500 households have now taken part in the energy saving competition since it first began, back in 2007 (Energy Neighbourhoods, 2013). All of them now able to track their energy consumption and compare it to the previous year. As a result, the Energy Neighbourhoods project helps to bridge the gap between knowing and implementing energy saving.

Conclusions

All in all, with an uprising trend in energy consumption, people have an important role in contributing to energy saving. There are several examples for people to perform energy efficiency and energy conservation in their daily activities. All of it requires a behavior change and continuous practices to realize the full potential of energy saving. However, several studies show that being environmentally aware and actively concern about energy saving may not be enough to make them perform energy efficiency or conservation. There is still a need for incentives to encourage people to practice energy saving act. The government could intervene by introducing incentives on energy saving or bringing up the sense of incentives by adopting the deposit scheme payment for energy use. At the same time, campaigns on energy saving could be referred to the Energy Neighborhood project, which successfully bridging the gap between knowing and implementing energy saving. In the end, by fulfilling the energy saving potential, it will not only reduce people’s energy bills but also ensure the future energy supply and cut down an essential amount of CO2 emission to conserve the nature.

 

References

Energy Neighbourhoods. (2013). How behavioural change can boost energy saving in private households. Energy Neighbourhoods.

Pelenur, M. (2018). Household energy use: a study investigating viewpoints towards energy efficiency technologies and behaviour. Energy Efficiency 11, 1825-1846.

PYC Data Center. (2019, May 8). Electricity Consumption per Capita. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from PYC Data Center: https://datacenter-pyc.org/data/statistics/energy-consumption/energy-consumption-by-sectors/electricity-consumption-growth-per-capita/

PYC Data Center. (2019, May 8). Energy Consumption in Household Sector. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from PYC Data Center: https://datacenter-pyc.org/data/statistics/energy-consumption/energy-consumption-by-sectors/energy-consumption-in-household-sector/

PYC Data Center. (2019, May 8). Final Energy Consumption by Sector. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from PYC Data Center: https://datacenter-pyc.org/data/statistics/energy-consumption/final-energy-consumption/final-energy-consumption-by-sector/

PYC Data Center. (2019, May 8). Share of Final Energy Consumption. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from PYC Data Center: https://datacenter-pyc.org/data/statistics/energy-consumption/final-energy-consumption/share-of-final-energy-consumption/

Siregar, Z. (2018, April 18). Konservasi Energi. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from Environment Indonesia: https://environment-indonesia.com/konservasi-energi/

*This opinion piece is the author(s) own and does not necessarily represent opinions of the Purnomo Yusgiantoro Center (PYC)

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