Module 8: Conservation


Module 8 Overview

Some people fear that “energy conservation” means giving up our worldly wealth and going back to living on dirt floors and eating by candlelight. Nothing could be further from the truth! There are lots of ways that we could reduce our energy consumption (and thus reduce our impacts on the planet) without sacrificing our standard of living. And, at least some conservation saves us money—the cost of installing insulation for houses, better windows, and other changes is less than the savings they provide. Conservation also has roots deep in history—Ben Franklin’s stove heated a room while burning fewer logs than were needed in an open fireplace, and he urged people to buy his stove to conserve the trees of Pennsylvania.

In this module, we’ll see just how vast the potential for energy conservation can be, and that countries can be highly energy-efficient without making people poorer. We’ll also look at a few real-life examples of conservation. Finally, we’ll think about a sticky problem that has puzzled social scientists for decades – if energy conservation is such a good idea, and can save people money without making them worse off –why are some people so hesitant to embrace it?