Relevancy of energy use and conservation to Environmental Management


Energy flows from many sources, exists in a variety of interchangeable forms, and drives all systems. It is fundamental to the quality of our lives and today, we find ourselves totally dependent on an abundant and uninterrupted supply of energy for living and working. It is undoubtedly the key ingredient in all sectors of modern economies.

Fossil fuels and nuclear technologies, as a core source of global energy production since the beginning of the 1970's, left behind a legacy of thousands of thermal, natural gas and oil fired power plants spread across the world. The carbon gas emissions and non-degradable nuclear waste produced by these plants have caused serious environmental problems such as the greenhouse effect leading to a virtual chain reaction of ozone depletion followed by global warming and climate change.

Meeting the energy needs of developing countries in the coming decades in a manner which fosters economic development and avoids environmental degradation is one of the world's foremost challenges. Meeting the energy needs for development in a manner which avoids environmental degradation is not just a concern of developing nations, which must feed, clothe, provide health care, educate, house, and find jobs for exploding populations. It is equally a challenge for developed countries, which will suffer environmental degradation, soaring fuel prices, loss of large potential developing country markets, debt forfeitures, and huge international security costs deriving from developing country instability, if the energy needs to fuel development are not soundly met.

Environmental management is the field of study which includes the protection, conservation and sustainable use of various elements (e.g. Biodiversity, Energy, etc.) or components of the environment. Environment includes physical factors of surroundings of human beings including air, land, water, climate sound light, odor taste, micro organisms, biological factors of animals and plants, cultural resources and the socio-economic factors of aesthetics and include both the natural and built environment and the way the interact.

 Energy is the capacity of a physical system to perform work. Energy exists in several forms such as heat, kinetic or mechanical energy, light, potential energy, electrical, or other forms. There are also two types of energy sources: renewable and nonrenewable. Renewable sources like wind, solar and water energy are constantly renewed. Nonrenewable energy sources like oil, gas and coal cannot be replaced and are in limited supply.

Energy Conservation is the Reduction in the amount of energy consumed in a process or system, or by an organization or society, through economy, elimination of waste, and rational use. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources. Energy conservation can result in increased financial capital, environmental quality, national security, personal security, and human comfort. Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy choose to conserve energy to reduce energy costs and promote economic security. Industrial and commercial users can increase energy use efficiency to maximize profit. Knowing the definition of energy conservation is important because it will help to save the nonrenewable energy resources so that they are available for future generations.

Developing countries are countries that behind the level of economic development of the North. They are referred to as the South and include nations of Latin America, Africa and Asia except Japan.

Sources of energy in developing countries

Around half of all people in developing countries are dependent for fuel on wood, dung and crop residue, collectively known as ‘traditional biomasses. Three quarters of these live in China, India and sub-Saharan Africa. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast that use of traditional biomass will decrease in many countries, but is likely to increase in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa alongside population growth.

Overall, the IEA forecasts that by 2030, the total number of people reliant on biomass will not have changed significantly. While the use of traditional energy sources is not necessarily undesirable in itself, concerns have been raised over how they are currently being used.

Modern energy sources, such as electricity and petroleum-based fuels, generally provide only a small part of the energy use of poor rural people. This is mainly because they are too expensive and because it can prove difficult to achieve regular supplies to isolated rural communities.

Energy Use in Developing Countries

Developing countries produce 43% of the world's energy but account for only 29% of total energy consumption. However, energy consumption varies greatly between these countries. Developing countries within Asia (China, India, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia), for example, consume 60% of all energy in the developing world.

However, Third World countries are rapidly increasing energy consumption in 21th century as they develop their economies. Their consumption of coal, oil, gas, and electricity is expected to triple within the next 30 years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This growth in energy consumption could seriously affect the environment, not only in the developing countries, but globally, IEA warns in its recent report Energy in Developing Countries.

Rapid population growth and an accompanying demand for higher living standards are among the factors contributing to increased energy consumption, according to IEA. Also, high-energy consumer appliances have become cheaper and more-readily available, putting many of the developed world's "advantages" into reach of more and more people.

Producing the energy required to meet this increasing demand will have substantial environmental effects, says IEA. While developing countries now consume proportionally less energy per person than industrialized countries do, their expansion is far more rapid. The Third World's share of global carbon-dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is projected to rise from 25% today to 44% in 2025. If the impact of tropical deforestation on carbon-dioxide levels is factored in, developing countries' share in the responsibility for global warming rises substantially, IEA points out.

More to this, in addition to burning fossil fuels, coal mining and the construction of Dams, degrade the environment. And the use of biomass, the primary source of fuel for much of the Third World, not only contributes to the deforestation problem, but also produces air pollution.

The magnitude of these problems underlines the need for more-efficient production, transformation, delivery, and use of energy, the report says. Improved efficiency would allow countries to meet the rising energy needs of their growing economies without expanding energy production to ecologically dangerous levels. For example, modern cook stoves are four times more fuel efficient than traditional stoves, notes IEA. State-of-the-art iron and steel plants use half as much energy per metric ton of crude steel produced as do the inefficient integrated iron and steel plants now operating in China and India.

However, financial constraints prevent households from buying more-efficient stoves, and industrial users must cope with antiquated machinery and erratic fuel supplies of uncertain quality. What may be needed, even more than new, more-efficient technologies is the push of policy makers to adopt them.

Energy Efficiency in Developing Nations

The demand for energy in the developing countries is rising at a rapid rate and this is one of the major concerns for the whole world. In order to stimulate economic growth, developing countries have been promoting their industrial sector. With the emergence of new companies, energy consumption as well as pollution has been rising. In these situations, promoting energy efficiency in developing countries has become a major challenge for international organizations.

Several survey reports show that nearly 50% of the total energy consumption in developing countries is by the industrial sector of these countries. The primary energy consumption rate in the developing countries has been increasing at an average of 5% every year whereas in the developed countries, this rate is between 0.5% -0.6%. The energy intensiveness of the industrial sector is very high as there are a number of activities related to this sector that ranges from extracting resources to producing finished goods. This diverse nature of work is the main problem in reducing energy consumption in this sector. More than this, the dilemma faced by the national governments of these developing countries is that if they reduce energy consumption, the growth of the industrial sector will slow and reduce the rate of economic development and they do not afford alternative sources of energy use such as solar energy, wind energy, nuclear energy and its high expensive to them. That is not a politically acceptable option in many if not most developing countries.

Another Important factor related to energy consumption in developing countries is of population growth. The population growths are very high in a number of developing countries and with this population growth, demand of new houses, office buildings, electrical home appliances etc. will also rise. With these developments energy consumption is also expected to rise rapidly.

In such situations, increasing energy efficiency is most important factor. A large number of international organizations like united nation organizations, World Bank and other alliances want to save energy. These organizations, along with national government and national organizations of developing countries are involving in creating various strategies to promote energy efficiency in developing nations. These organizations are also arranging the necessary finances for the purposes through several grants and private investments. At the same time ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) are also playing a major role in reducing energy consumption in developing countries.

Energy Production and Environmental Impacts

Energy plays a critical role in fueling the transition from a traditional to a modern society and thus aiding economic and social development. In turn, this energy is extracted from rural areas-either as fossil fuels or renewable energy-and can have significant impacts on the rural economy and environment.

Used wisely, energy can provide environmental benefits; if misused it can also exact substantial environmental costs to the land, water, and air. The environmental costs of extracting and transporting the major energy resources used in developing countries today are coal, oil; gas, hydroelectricity, biomass, and other forms of energy are discussed below.



Coal has significant environmental effects throughout the fuel cycle. The environmental effects of coal mining depend on the techniques used. Mining methods are selected according to the depth of the coal, the thickness of the seams, and the availability of capital and equipment. In surface mining, topsoil and overburden are removed to expose the coal. The mining process can disturb surface lands and waters, and may also contaminate or disturb underground aquifers. Increased erosion, downstream siltation, and water contamination can follow if excavated material is not properly managed during mining.

Soil productivity and water resources can be degraded if lands are not reclaimed adequately. The most severe impacts associated with underground mining are surface subsidence over mined-out areas, disruption of aquifers, and contamination of water by acid drainage. Additionally, dust and emissions from coal mining, preparation, and transport or related equipment can contribute to local air pollution.

Oil and Gas

Oil and gas production have similar environmental impacts. During exploration and production, the major environmental concerns onshore include land disturbances, aquifer contamination, leaks and spills, and disposal of liquid and solid wastes. For offshore operations, concerns include the impacts of operations on fisheries and marine habitats, leaks and spills, and waste disposal.

Large spills of oil or petroleum products, which occasionally occur during production, storage, or transportation, are perhaps the most dramatic environmental threat associated with oil production.

Small leaks and spills are much more common, however, and may have a greater overall impact on the environment. Oil spills can poison fish and aquatic animal and plant life. Additionally, sediments can trap oil, creating a long-term source of pollution.

Further more, petroleum refining generates hazardous liquid and solid wastes, as well as air emissions. These facilities have pollution control requirements similar to many other large industrial and chemical plants, but leaks of toxic compounds occur nevertheless.



Themajor environmental impacts of large hydropower production projects result from the initial construction of the hydropower facilities, filling the reservoirs, and changing river flows. This is in contrast with other energy sources, for which major impacts are spread over the entire fuel cycle. Large dam construction often requires the clearing of lands for access routes and sometimes for removal of construction material, with resulting soil degradation and erosion. Filling the reservoir can flood large tracts of land, uprooting people and leading to loss of forests, wildlife habitat, and species diversity. For example the Akosombo reservoir on the Volta in Ghana, with a land requirement of 8,730 km2, approaches the size of such small countries as Lebanon or Cyprus. Some currently proposed very large dam projects would inundate highly populated valleys and require large-scale resettlement of local residents.

Dams disrupt the natural flow of rivers. Changed flows can erode riverbeds, alter flood patterns, harm aquatic ecosystems, and interrupt the spawning and migratory patterns of fish and other species. The introduction of a new lake can affect water tables and groundwater flows and interfere with the necessary flow of nutrients, and may induce microclimatic changes in humidity, cloud cover, and rainfall. In addition, if the vegetation is not cleared from the reservoir area before flooding, rotting organic matter releases significant amounts of C02 and methane, two potent greenhouse gases.

Hydropower facilities, in turn, are vulnerable to environmental degradation; heavier than expected siltation of reservoirs from deforested and/or degraded lands upstream can reduce the lifespan of hydroelectric projects.

Although hydropower production has many effects on environment, its offers us several advantages;

i)                    Its relatively inexpensive compare to other services

ii)                  It is pollution free

iii)                It is has potentially renewable resources, provided reservoirs can be kept from filling with sediments.



BiomassFuels—Biomass-wood, crop residues, and animal dung are the primary fuel for people in rural areas, and in many regions in developing countries it is also important for the urban poor. Until recently, it was widely believed that many developing countries were on the verge of being transformed into treeless deserts or mountain wastelands due to the demand for fuelwood. These predictions were largely based on the "gap" model, which assumed a freed per-capita demand for fuelwood and a growing population while at the same time the forest base was declining due to agricultural expansion and overcutting of the forest.

Biomass can be produced on energy farms and, in many instances; the costs to produce bio-energy can be much lower than the world oil price. Bio-energy production is attractive where unemployment or underemployments are chronic, since large amounts of labor are involved in growing and converting the biomass. Bio-energy production can provide decentralized energy sources, helping to spur rural development in developing countries and minimize migration to urban areas.

In more recent studies, however, it has been found that the use of fuelwood is highly elastic according to its availability and the labor required to collect it or, if traded, its price. When fuelwood is difficult to obtain by foraging, people quickly resort to lower quality wood, agricultural residues, or dung. More generally, rural subsistence farmers cause relatively little damage to forests, as they usually take only deadwood or small limbs. They do not have the tools of cut down large trees. Much of the wood they collect is fromhedgerows or other sources near their farms. In Kenya, for example, trees outside the forest supply half the fuelwood demand.

In contrast to rural foragers, commercialized fuelwood and charcoal operations tosupply urban households, commercial facilities and industrial operations often cut whole trees and can damage or destroy forested areas. Theimpact of commercial demands for fuelwood are limited, however, as users will switch to fossil fuels when fuelwood becomes scarce and prices climb. The extent of the damage to the forest resulting from commercialized fuel demand will then depend on the distance between the user and the forest, the size of the forest, the size of the demand, the rate of re-growth, and other factors. The use of biomass for fuel is not usually a principal cause of deforestation. It does, however, add additional pressure on forest resources.

In arid or semi-arid regions, where forest growth is slow and there is a high population density or a concentrated urban demand for fuel wood, such as the African Sahel, the use of biomass fuels can contribute significantly to local deforestation.

The burning of biomass generates large amounts of air pollution in developing countries. Food is typically cooked over an open fire or a poorly vented stove-exposing woman and children, as well as other members of the family, to high levels of toxic smoke. Similarly, in colder climates, homes in rural areas are often heated by open fires, further increasing exposures to toxic smoke. One impact of this indoor air pollution is exacerbation of one of the most deadly classes of infectious illness, acute respiratory infections in children.

The use of biomass for fuel, clearing forest land for agriculture, and burning grasslands to generate fresh forage for livestock all generate large amounts of smoke that contributes to regional air pollution.

These activities also pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, potentially contributing to global climate change.

In fact, wood is not only one of many forms of biomass that can be used to produce energy. Garbage can be incinerated to produce steam heat and electricity. Manure, human wastes, and other organic refuse can be used to produce methane gas. However all these systems needs higher capital to produce for efficiency energy and thus developing countries are lacking such huge capital and are mostly concentrating for fuelwood of energy use.


Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy currently makes little contribution to the overall energy requirements of developing countries. Seven developing countries produce uranium:

South Africa, Niger, Gabon, India, Argentina, Brazil, and Pakistan, Eight developing countries had operating commercial reactors as of late 1989 and several more had commercial reactors under construction. A total of 28 developing countries had research reactors.

The conventional nuclear fuel cycle includes uranium mining and processing, fuel fabrication, electricity generation, and radioactive waste disposal.

Each of these steps has the potential to release varying amounts of toxic and/or radioactive materials to the environment. Releases usually take the form of small leakages but have, on rare occasion, also resulted in catastrophes such as Chernobyl. On the other hand, the nuclear power option releases little carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, nor does it emit much sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or other air pollutants. These tradeoffs pose difficult environmental choices.


Solar, Wind, and Other Renewable Energy

Solar energy can be used to heat water or dry crops, or can be turned directly into electricity by photovoltaic cells. Winds can be harnessed for pumping water or generating electricity. Though holding great promise for the provision of decentralized forms of energy for remote areas, as yet these sources provide only small amounts of energy for developing countries.

Geothermal energy, though still a very small part of total energy supply in developing countries, is being used in several Latin American and Asian developing countries and in Kenya. The environmental problems associated with geothermal energy production are highly dependent on the geochemical characteristics of each specific site and the extent to which good environmental practice is followed.

Potential adverse environmental impacts include the release of gases (particularly CO2), contamination of local aquifers by saline (and sometimes toxic) geothermal fluids into groundwater, subsidence of land overlying wells from which geothermal fluids have been extracted, and the generation of high temperature liquid effluents containing metals and dissolved solids. With existing economically proven technologies and good management, however, these potentially adverse impacts can be kept under control.

Energy Conservation in Developing Countries

Because of the limited amount of nonrenewable energy sources on Earth (e.g. Coal, oil, and Natural gas), it is important to conserve our current supply or to use renewable sources so that our natural resources will be available for future generations. Energy conservation is also important because consumption of nonrenewable sources impacts the environment as well as it high cost for developing countries to produces. Specifically, our use of fossil fuels contributes to air and water pollution. For example, carbon dioxide is produced when oil, coal, and gas combust in power stations, heating systems, and car engines. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a transparent blanket that contributes to the global warming of the earth, or "greenhouse effect." It is possible that this warming trend could significantly alter our weather. Possible impacts include a threat to human health, environmental impacts such as rising sea levels that can damage coastal areas, and major changes in vegetation growth patterns that could cause some plant and animal species to become extinct. Sulfur dioxide is also emitted into the air when coal is burned. The sulfur dioxide reacts with water and oxygen in the clouds to form precipitation known as "acid rain." Acid rain can kill fish and trees and damage limestone buildings and statues.

Renewable energy effectively utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and bio-fuels for transportation. A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be re-made, re-grown or regenerated on a scale comparative to its consumption. It exists in a fixed amount that is being renewed or is used up faster than it can be made by nature. Fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum and natural gas) and nuclear power are non-renewable resources, as they do not naturally re-form at a rate that makes the way we use them sustainable and consumer materials to produce electricity.

Energy conservation in developing countries its not easy task, its need for introduce technological efficiency, political arrangements, provision aids (from developed countries) to use alternative energy sources that reduces costs and environmentally friendly for example Brazil has transfer from oil consumption to ethanol, also it needs for personal behavior changes that contribute to reduce of energy consumption at household level. Change attitude for personal towards energy consumption it's very challenging for most developing countries, because it needed awareness and participation for personal as long as most people in developing countries are lacking knowledge about the effect of energy to human health and environment.

We star on renewable energy technologies because they can be particularly attractive in dispersed, ‘off-grid' applications and therefore represent an important option for rural areas that lack electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure. To conserve renewable energy in developing countries, there is a need efficiency technology as replacement for traditional of consuming energy as their counterpart did (developed countries). If the developed nations are willing to play a significant role in helping the developing nations, it is questionable whether the same developmental path the north took should be promoted. For instances the solar route is especially attractive for many of the climates in the developing world, where an estimated 2 billion people lack electricity. For example, some 80,000 PV system installed in Kenya over a 10- year period now provide power to over 1% of rural Kenyan population. This system, with cost ranging from $300 to $ 1,500, is successfully marketed to people with incomes averaging less than $100 per month, and also environmental friendly.

In fact, the energy technology that has the most potential to immediately improve human health and well-being in many developing countries is relatively simple. It is the improved cooking stove. The use of such traditional fuels as wood and dung for cooking is inefficient and generates extremely high levels of indoor pollution. Accelerating the transition to more expensive, but far cleaner kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or electric stoves, would dramatically reduce the exposure to unhealthy levels of particulate pollution in many developing countries, particularly among women and children. Other sectors that offer great opportunities to reduce conventional levels of air pollutant emissions and to improve public health are transport and electricity production.

Further more, as most developing countries, firewood are the only sources of fuel for cooking for over billion people. In fact, 90% of the world's fuelwood is produced and used in developing countries and these consumptions results environmental damage such deforestation which causes global warming, we need solution to this problem such as to develop a market in wood which encourage people with land to plant trees as a cash crops. When people have to pay for fuelwood, trees become important resources that can be put under the stewardship of local communities or private landowners, and sustainable use of forest can result. Then, all of other benefits of goods and services provided by forests are preserved or resorted. Indeed this requires encouragements of developing countries or NGOs.

Research and funding institutions must be brought to change and emphasize renewables and efficiency measures. They (Developed Countries) should assist developing countries in establishing regional research and development facilities focused on renewables and efficiency technologies.

A more sustainable energy policy would also need to improve energy efficiency and that will help developing countries to avoid or minimize such consequences. None are easy to implement. All require the active engagement of all sectors of society, including individual consumers and local communities, non-governmental organizations, private businesses and industry, the science and technology research community, governments, intergovernmental institutions and charitable organizations. Developing countries must take the lead in charting new energy courses for themselves. However, developed countries must stand ready to provide support, recognizing that they have a vital stake in the outcome. These policy actions include:

• Promote energy efficiency and adopt minimum efficiency standards for buildings, appliances and equipment, and vehicles.

• Reform and re-direct energy subsidies.

• Identify the most promising indigenous renewable energy resources and implement policies to promote their sustainable development.

• Seek developed-country support for the effective transfer of advanced energy technologies, while building the indigenous human and institutional capacity needed to support sustainable energy technologies.

• Accelerate the dissemination of clean, efficient, affordable cook stoves.

However, most conservation of energy is depending on behaviors and attitudes of personal as community is consist of individuals. If we came with good attitudes toward of conserve at house hold level, we can success. Here as steps as follows;

       I.            We should start with reducing the consumption of energy that we use in our daily lives like electricity, fuel and water; it is necessary to conserve water as well because the water that we get in our homes comes as a result of purification which also requires energy in some form. Most of us have a bad habit of leaving the lights, fans and the television turned on even when we are not in the room. So we become a little more attentive and careful we can actually save a lot of energy.

    II.            The refrigerator of your house has a thermostat, which controls the temperature inside it but then there are energy saver or power savers that do it more effectively than others. Besides this also look for leaks from where outside air can enter the refrigerator, if yes then try and block those leaks.

 III.            Then let's come to your dishwasher, which uses up lesser energy when you put many dishes in it and wash it than washing every dish manually. But if you try and make two compartments in your sink so that you can soap wash and clean the dishes in a compartment full of water you would be able to save a lot of energy.

 IV.            When you take a bath and need the water heater try and lower the temperature when the thermostat cuts off the electricity supply so that a higher temperature is not set and the electricity supply can be cut off at a lower temperature.

    V.            Next lets come to the washing machine, which can also be used wisely to save some energy. When you set the washing machine set it to warm and not hot since that takes up more energy but the output remains the same.

 VI.            When you use the room heaters check if the dampers are on or not because dampers work against the heater and hence therefore more energy is required to heat the room. When summer season comes try and use the air conditioner in the fan mode so that the usage of electricity reduces.

  1. You can also save oil by opting for a carpool than going in your car and spend four times more oil than you actually need to.


The task of furnishing the energy necessary to achieve high standards of living in developing countries while preserving the world environment is formidable. The capital requirements are immense and the institutional changes required by all involved parties are considerable. With adequate will, the goals are achievable. The consequences of failure would be far more painful than the costs of achievement.



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               Bantana Company USA.

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G. Tyler Miller, (2004), Environmental Sciences 10th edition, published by

              Jack carey USA.

Raven, Berg, & Johnson, (1998), Environmental Science, 2nd edition, Published by       

             saunder college.

William P. cunningham, (2002), Principle Environmental Science 1st edition, published

                 By McGrawhill

Source by haykal39


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