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Introduction to Stop Energy Waste

Energy waste is the misuse or abuse of electricity, water and gas,

which occurs because energy consumption devices are not managed and

maintained properly. It is also due largely to the lack of education

offered to the public on how to conserve the energy they use daily, or

to the lack of inventions available in the market.

Energy has been defined in science as the ability to do work.

"Energy" comes from the Greek word "energeia" or from the French words

en meaning in and ergon which means work.

Energy is vague or unclear. No one can see it, but it is everywhere

around us. It is such a magical substance that makes things happen.

Everything in the world is either energy The revving car engines burn

energy, hot cups of tea hold energy, the bulb lighting the room at

night are using energy, barking dogs are using energy too – all you

can think of is using energy in one way or another.

Forms of Energy:

Energy exists as light, heat, sound, mass, moving objects, gravity,

fuel, chemicals, and electricity. There are thus many different forms

energy can take. Here are some examples:

• kinetic energy – energy of motion

• potential energy – energy at rest, based on position in space

• nuclear energy – energy released by changes in the atomic nucleus,

such as fission or fusion

• electrical energy – energy based on the attraction, repulsion, and

movement of electrical charge, such as electrons, protons, or ions

• chemical energy – energy based on the difference between the amount

required to form chemical bonds versus how much is needed to break

them

Latent energy and kinetic energy

Although there are many kinds of energy in the world, they all fall

into two broad categories: Latent energy and kinetic energy. One form

of energy may be converted into another without violating a law of

thermodynamics. When energy is "lost", it means the energy can't be

recaptured for use. This usually occurs when heat is produced.

Energy may be either renewable or nonrenewable. Photosynthesis is an

example of a process the produces renewable energy. Burning coal is an

example of nonrenewable energy. The plant continues to produce

chemical energy in the form of sugar, by converting solar energy. Once

coal is burned, the ash can't be used to continue the reaction.

When energy is stored up and waiting to do things, we call it latent

energy; "latent" simply means the energy has the ability to do

something useful later on.

When stored energy is being used to do something, we call it kinetic

energy; "kinetic" means movement and, generally, when stored energy is

being used up, it is making things move or happens.

Our daily lives

The energy we use in our daily lives falls into three broad categories:

• the food we eat to keep our bodies going

• the energy we use in our homes, and

• The fuel we put in our vehicles.

The food we eat comes from plants and animals, which our stomachs

digest to make a sugary substance called glucose that blood transports

around our bodies to power our muscles. All animals ultimately get

their energy from plants, which are themselves powered by sunlight.

Plants are like living solar panels that absorb the Sun's energy and

convert it into food.

The energy we use in our homes tends to be provided by coal, gas, and

oil. These three "fossil fuels" are underground supplies of energy,

created millions of years ago, that we drill, mine, or pipe to the

surface to satisfy our energy needs today.

Most of the energy we use in our vehicles also comes from oil. The

trouble with fossil fuels is that we are using them much more quickly

than we are creating them. Another problem is that burning fossil

fuels creates a gas called carbon dioxide that is building up in

Earth's atmosphere and causing a problem known as global warming

(climate change).

Residential uses of energy

The amount of energy we use in our homes mainly depends on the climate

where we live and the types and number of energy consuming devices we

use. Cooking gas and electricity are the most-consumed energy sources

in our homes, followed by heating oil, and petrol or diesel to power

generators due to collapsing public power supply. Natural gas and

heating oil (fuel oil) are used mainly for home/space heating.

Electricity is used for heating and cooling, to light our homes and

runs almost all of our appliances including refrigerators, toasters,

and computers.

When we talk about residential uses of energy, these are the most

basic uses of energy. They include watching television, washing

clothes, taking a shower, working from home on your laptop or

computer, charging mobile phones, flushing the toilet and cooking.

Residential uses of energy account for almost forty percent of total

energy use globally.

The number and variety of ways we use such energy is also changing

rapidly. In most parts of Nigeria, energy use for fans and air

conditioning has doubled due to climate change. Fairly used

refrigerators and cooking equipment such as microwaves have long been

standard in homes, so are dishwashers and clothes washers and dryers.

It is also increasingly common for homes to use multiple televisions

and computers. New products such as DVD players, home theatres, game

systems, and rechargeable electronic devices are becoming ever more

integral to our modern lifestyle.

Saving Energy

When we talk about energy saving, we remember being told to switch off

the lights or the television or the washing machine. Now that you are

an adult, you understand why it was important to actually do things

such as switching off the lights when you leave a room.

Most people are ignorant to the fact that the first agent to conserve

energy is the user. They can take responsibility to monitor and reduce

the amount of energy they use.

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