What practical engineering of human behavior would save humankind the most energy?
Better adherence to birth control techniques.
Convincing North America of the benefits of small vehicles, of diesel engines, and that 35mpg is not particularly economical.
Eliimination of air conditioning.
Changing the mindset of needing to always be in a hurry to arrive somewhere, because of poor planning of the proper time to leave.
Reduced stress will result in energy conservation in many suttle ways.
While it is technically an engineering/planning issue it does directly affect people's mentalities as far as the way they think cities should be laid out.
If city planning were to center around the idea of having a central city with small hubs around it instead of miles and miles of stretched out strip malls and subdivisions, the reliance on driving would be greatly reduced.
That's what I loved about living in NY and Germany. I had no need for having a car. Unlike here where it is a necessity simply to get to work or the grocery store. Urban sprawl has lead to no transportation or pedestrian infrastructure.
i think instead of using private vehicles each can use public vehicles such as electric trains and buses for transportation.......
Cutting back on recycling would be a good step towards lower energy use. Now metal recycling is definitely more energy effective than mining and refining new metal, but plastic? Paper? We use much more energy in recycling plastic and paper than we do in making a new product. Plus paper disposal is actually carbon sequestering (assuming the paper is put in a landfill and not incinerated).
Then we have CFLs which by mere existence give me shivers. We already have enough problems with heavy metal pollution and people throwing away things they shouldn't. LEDs are the way to go for energy conservation, but it will still take them about ten years to become cost effective and mainstream. I think we can wait ten years.
Public transportation for energy savings is a nice thought, but is limited in application. In the countryside its useless. In the city its only useful when enough people when enough people use it. If public transportation was a viable option it would already be in much greater use than it is today.
The reason why some cities are compact and some cites are spread out is simple. All cities starts spread out! As the city develops and the population grows the city becomes more compact as people want to be near their jobs. Then we end up with cities where land is at a premium and everyone lives in small apartments. The city never shrank, in fact it grew, but the population became much more dense. The ignored fact is that a city doesn't exist on its own. There still need to be many rural communities to provide food, power and other essentials that a city cannot produce on its own. Add to this the problem of pollution when you have a very dense population and you can see why driving is a solution to problems and not a problem in itself. You could not pay me enough to live in LA.
Allow people to become more energy efficient with their wallets! If I could use solar power to power my house cheaper than the grid I would. But don't sell me solar panels and tell me the first step to saving money is to make my house more efficient. (This is the first step for all the money saving solar installations I've seen. If I can truly save money with solar power compared to the grid then why does it matter how much electricity I use?) If I could get housing closer to my job with the same standard of living I have now at the same price I would. But don't tell me that moving my family to a tiny apartment compared to a big house is a step in the right direction. If I could get a car equal to mine that uses no gasoline I would. But don't offer me car that is tiny and has no range for the same price as mine and tell me it's an improvement.
Let technology advance. Let market solutions fix our problems as the technology becomes available. I would much rather increase everyones standard of living while decreasing energy use and pollution than decrease everyones standard of living for the 'goal' (not necessarily actual result) of energy use reduction.
spreading as much capitolism as possible in the world. let the free market dictate consumer policy not unelected bureacrats with wacky ideas about how government is the answer.
Buses are not very energy efficient per head. Cars beat them.
This energy source and use flow diagram is a good place to start in answering the OP question. I'd have to go with transportation; Urban sprawl as Fred G suggests sounds good.
I wonder if busses numbers are skewed by the type of driving they do?
Sure I expect all those stops and starts are part of it; then there's the driving to and from the bus barn completely empty, and finally the unavoidable percentage of driving on the route w/ low or non-existent passenger loads. So if one sees an existing bus going down the road, certainly its better to jump on it rather than get in the car to save energy, but one can not say the same about buying the next new bus.
What I mean, though, is did they compare busses driving in the citiy to cars driving in the city or just busses to cars.
Resources are finite but everyone wants to think otherwise. Except for recently since nature is beginning to show us otherwise. But what all you greenies out there need to realize is that its not really about how much we use, its how many of us are using...POPULATION, POPULATION, POPULATION!!! We need negative pop growth rates, before nature chooses for us how. Oh well too late. Darn free loving hippies turned engineers :-) jk
Seriously though, read the oildrum.com or wiki peak oil. Much more realistic info and views than all the green or utopian mumbo jumbo thats everywhere...
The comparison is not exactly apples to apples either, because buses stop every quarter to half-mile or so at a bus stop, where as a car goes point a-b with less stops, other than stop lights they both stop at.
I'd bet a charter bus carrying 50 people going down the highway would get better energy per person than a single car carrying one or two people.
Yes of course. The 'Vanpool' category, large multi-passenger vehicles that go only from point A to B, park, and then return the passengers back again, is far, far more efficient as a people mover than any other kind of transport at 1322 BTUs per passenger mile, including motorcycles.
Conservation is one point, but I think finding an alternative energy source should be thought of before oil supply dwindles any further...which, am afraid, could result war between nations.
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