It’s not a secret that cities use up a lot of energy. This is only going to increase in the future as it is predicted that the world population will increase by about 2 billion by the year 2050.1 This can result in almost doubling the energy use in the world. As we move closer towards this future, it is key that we come up with ways to reduce the amount of energy that cities use daily given that 54% of the world’s population lives in cities today, and that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050.2
An essential way to go about improving how cities can be more energy efficient is to use cleaner energy sources. It is predicted that renewable energy sources like solar and wind could provide up to 40% of energy globally by 2060. Everyone has seen those big wind turbines that are great sources of natural energy but take up a lot of space. This is a problem in urban areas as there isn’t any room for them, a solution to this problem is the use of tiny wind turbines (seen to the right). The smaller turbines are convenient because they can be built right into buildings, so there wouldn’t have to be any extra space to place them. The use of these smaller turbines can can supply up to 15 percent of the building’s electrical energy needs, which can really add up if these were to be installed in the majority of the worlds cities. The future use of these turbines looks bright as they have already been put to use on buildings such as World Trade Center in Bahrain and even the Eiffel Tower.3
Another cool way that clean energy can be utilized is with see-through solar cells. These work very similarly to regular solar cells that have been in use for a while, except these are see-through. The importance of this is that they can be used on windows. This is extremely useful in cities because skyscrapers and other buildings are covered in windows, so placing these see-through cells on windows would be a great source of energy for buildings to run on.
Not only do cities have a lot of buildings, but they also have a lot of vehicles. Cars turning more and more green is not something that is new but it must continue in order to help cities reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. Hybrid and electric cars are very helpful and not only are more people starting to purchase them for themselves, but cities are starting to use these cars for taxis and public transportation which is a very good change. Another thing that can help with car emissions is coming up with more alternate fuel types. One potential way that we could see become more popular in the near future is the use of hydrogen. Shell already has refueling stations for hydrogen vehicles in both the United States and Germany, if this could increase that would be great as these cars don’t produce any exhaust emissions at all.1
As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the need to be more energy efficient. Luckily, we have many creative minds going to work on how we can help to clean up our planet.
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