How can Latymer reduce energy usage?

Climate change - undoubtedly one of the most dangerous and urgent dilemmas that our planet is facing. But the world isn’t doing enough to try and solve it! Every year the problem gets worse: CO2 emissions are at the highest in 650,000 years, ice sheets are melting across the globe, and nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. But what is Climate Change and why should we care?

First of all what is the difference between Global Warming and Climate Change? Although they are very similar, they have a distinct difference. Global warming refers to the upward trend in temperature since the early 20th century. On the other hand, Climate Change covers a broader range of global phenomena, mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which add greenhouse gases to the Earth’s atmosphere. It also includes changes like the melting of ice caps, rising sea level, and extreme weather events.

Although climate change is usually a natural process on Earth, increasing human activity over the past few centuries has dramatically and alarmingly accelerated the rate at which it takes place. The main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, which releases CO2 gases. This raises the temperature on Earth, which in turn can cause many side effects, including the melting of polar ice caps, and droughts. Under these normal circumstances, this is would be harmless as most of the atmosphere is made up of CO2 which traps heat and keeps the Earth at livable temperature. However, because of the sheer amount of CO2 which we are adding, the layer keeps on building up, resulting in more heat being trapped.

Now at first this seems like a great thing - surely hotter temperatures in the UK is a amazing? In fact, just an increase of a few degrees could be catastrophic for the world. As stated by the Intergovernmental Panel - “Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.” Some of the detrimental consequences include the melting of the polar ice caps, resulting in sea levels risings. In turn, this would flood many low lying areas and destroy valuable freshwater sources.

Another major effect of global warming is famine. It is estimated that for every 1o Celsius in global temperature, food production for the world’s major grain crops (corn, soybean, rice and wheat) will decrease by 10%. With most experts predicting a temperature increase of 30 - 50 , that’s as much as 50% less production of these vital crops. Most of these estimates don’t even take into account that higher temperatures means better living conditions for pests, even where it is too cold for them to survive right now. With around 1 in 9 people around the world currently being undernourished, the world could be facing a major crisis.

Climate change is undoubtedly a massive problem facing mankind, but it is not unsolvable. With the development of more energy efficient products, cleaner energy sources, and higher awareness, climate change can be stopped. Even if some of the damage is already done, we need to make sure that we don’t cause any more, and no one country can do this, It is imperative that the world comes together and solves this issue before it is too late!

My problem is “How can Latymer try and reduce its negative effect towards climate change?” I chose this problem because I feel that climate change is an incredibly important and potent issue that will require the entire world to come together if it is to be solved. It is also a problem that requires scientific thought and problem solving capabilities to resolve. So many people and animals will affected if it is not stopped, including Latymer.

This most closely links into two global goals: “Climate Action”, and “Affordable and Clean Energy.” The former I have already explained above in my introduction; however, it is the latter which provides a much more interesting and achievable solution to this problem. Our reliance on fossil fuels for electricity is the main obstacle in solving climate change, and clean, renewable energy sources are a potential alternative to the hydrocarbon fuels of today. At Latymer, it is almost impossible to prevent climate change around the world, but renewable energy offers a way that we can reduce our carbon footprint and aid in the larger fight against climate change.

Currently, Latymer gets all of its energy from the national grid, more than 50% of which is produced through the means of burning fossil fuels. This is because we have no other ways of providing for the energy hungary school. Furthermore, because of the size of school, a large proportion of energy used in the school is wasted or unnecessary. Lights are left on when nobody is in the classroom, rooms are often boiling or freezing, and computers are constantly powered on across the school.

In order to reduce Latymer’s carbon footprint, there are two options: the first is to use more energy efficient products in order to reduce total energy usage, and the second is to produce our own electricity through renewable sources like solar panels. By regulating power consumption throughout the school, energy that is wasted now can be saved. Cheap and effective solutions like LEDs cost very little and can save huge amounts of energy - compared to an incandescent bulb, LEDs use over 80% less power and cost only a few pounds more. Internet of things devices also offer energy saving benefits, albeit at a cost; by using smart sensors, it is possible to have a dynamic heating system that automatically changes depending on the temperature. However, despite all these products being good at saving energy, they still share the root problem of relying on fossil fuels.

The second solution to reducing energy usage is to install some kind of clean energy source within the school itself. Solar Panels are a large investment; however, depending on their size and direction, they can produce at least a portion of the schools energy. In addition to that, they are fairly easy to install and maintain, as well as being very unobstructive. Furthermore, they could even begin to save some money off of the schools surely hefty energy bill. Although they have a very small impact on global warming as a whole, every little helps.

In conclusion, with climate change being one of the most pressing issues on earth today, it is incredibly important that Latymer does its part to fight back. Whether it is through the usage of less energy, or making our own energy, something has to be done. As the next generation, it is the job of each and every student to play their part and make an effort to stop artificial climate change in its tracks.

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