It is important to be concerned with how much energy is wasted, because a significant amount of our energy comes from finite resources such as gas and oil. Because there is only a limited amount of these resources, if they are wasted for unnecessary purposes, then we will run out of these resources sooner. Wasteful energy activities also generally produce more pollution, by the act itself such as letting a car unnecessarily idle, or by the act of wasting the energy that resulted in some pollution during the effort it took to extract and transport that energy.
Just to give you an idea of how much energy we waste, “In 2008, we generated 3,806,611 GWh from fossil-fired thermal power plants. Those plants, on average, operate at 33 percent fuel efficiency, meaning that for every 1 unit of electric power generated, 2 units of waste heat were thrown away in cooling towers, rivers and streams. That’s 2 x 3,806,611 GWh of wasted heat, or 26.4 quads up in smoke.” The more energy we waste, the more fossil fuels we need to burn, and the more of these burn, the more carbon is released into the atmosphere. This translates to higher levels of green house gas emissions.
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