ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND FORE

 

Eco-Efficiency as an Approach to Reducing Energy and Resource Use

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Eco-Efficiency as an Approach to Reducing Energy and Resource Use

The environmental damage seen globally is taking place because of the population growth that is growing in affluence. This is partly due to the efficient technology available. The environmental change observed is due to an increase in the consumption as there is an increased population. Therefore, the impact of an environment is assessed by using three variables. These are the population size, the affluence of the population and the efficiency of the technology available. Indeed, to slow down this destruction, some institutions and organizations use the eco-efficiency approach (Herring 14).

This approach is carried out by using high efficiency methods, technology and production, and using fewer resources that are found naturally and energy in order to come up with the same quantity of production and less waste production. In this way, the globe benefits in other ways such as preserving the natural resources, efficiency in the industrial sector and economic growth, amongst others (Herring 16). In other words, eco-efficiency is an advantage to the economy and the environment through efficiency in production. This is not the only approach used in preserving the environment and stopping global damage. On its own, it is not enough. Taking care of environmental problems needs a combination of behavioral, regulatory and technical solutions. Those approaches that use behavioral and technology solutions have an idea of how they can achieve a sustainable lifestyle (Herring 18).

However, as much as the eco-efficiency approach is greatly used, there are other approaches used. One of the approaches used is the green design. The developed product is made in such a way that it has a smaller blow on the environment, if any. However, it focuses on one or two environmental objectives. These are mostly saving on the energy and using recycled materials. Some more achievements need accomplishing. The other approached taken is the eco-design. This has more effect than the green design. In this approach, there is an attempt to have a balance in the decrease of ecological impacts throughout the substantial lifecycle. This includes the disposal at the end of a life and the extraction of raw materials. At times, this design is referred to as life-cycle design (Robin, 90).

Another approach mostly advocated is called sustainable design. This approach aims at maximizing the use of a particular product by having less environmental harmful technical solution. For example, instead of making a boiler into something of more efficiency, a designer uses other technology such as solar energy, which is more environmental friendly. The approach is also referred to as green function innovation (Herring 59). One needs to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts before using this innovation. Another fourth approach used is known as sustainable innovation. Unlike sustainable design, this approach goes beyond technical solutions. Here, new environmentally best product-service structures are felt to give a needed function. For example, in order to give clean clothes (essential function), it might engage coming up with a community laundry services. They would employ solar energy and collection done by booking online (Robin, 91).

Dealing with environmental problems needs a combination of all these methods. However, the most utilized approach is regulation and technology. Since 1956 when the implementation of the Clean Air Act took place, regulation has been used to introduce new technology to unwilling industries and the public in general. Although the same technology can be more destructive than constructive, the positive is more (Herring 20). The best thing is to know the kind of people one is dealing with. Each person needs to be approached with a different strategy. For example, people living in the North believe in consumerism and growth. This means that they do not consume less even if the products were greener and the services were better. Those countries in the South (developing countries), are putting their concentration on expanding and developing the country. This means that their consumption level is much higher. In the face of the two circumstances, the people in the efforts of the people in the North may be destroyed by the efforts of those in the South (Huppes & Ishikawa, 2007).

Institutions are doing all they can in ensuring that these strategies are being implemented. For example, the G8 meeting held in the past couple of sessions has tackled Global warming as one of its major topics. This is to make sure that all the countries worldwide and especially the developed countries as they are the ones that use the most technology are on the watch about the environment. Countries are being encouraged to make laws that are in favor of the environment and the natural resources available. This includes their conservation.

Environmentalists and groups supporting conservation of the natural resources have greatly used the media and other materials in order to pass their messages. They have even been seen more that once condemning acts that were thought to be of a danger to the environment. For example, the recent chemtrail (geoengineering) scandal in the U.S.A. provoked a lot of questions and actions from these activists and other concerned individuals. All these have restricted some greedy or unconcerned institutions, organizations or even individuals from going too far. It is important that each party get to play its role (Verbeek & Slob, 2006).

Eco-efficiency has its advantages and disadvantages. It is only important to know what to use, where or when. In the areas where it fails, using other approaches is the best option. It is important to understand that each society is treated individually. There are problems that are approached in combined systems while others need an individualistic approach. At the end of the day, it is only best that the environment be protected for the sake of today and the future.

 

References

HERRING, HORRACE, (2002), Block 5 Consumption: innovation for sustainability, Open University Worldwide.

HUPPES, G., & ISHIKAWA, M. (2007). Quantified eco-efficiency: an introduction with applications. Dordrecht, the Netherlands, Springer.

ROBIN, ROY, (2006), Block 3 Products: New product development and sustainable design, Open University Worldwide.

VERBEEK, P.-P., & SLOB, A. F. L. (2006). User behavior and technology development: shaping sustainable relations between consumers and technologies. Dordrecht, Springer.

 

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