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
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
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,
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.
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.