Energy Diet

I am a student studying Urban and Regional Planning at the University of South Australia. I am in my third year and am about to commence my work placement. My home, Adelaide, is more of a big country town than a city, despite having a population of approximately 1.3 million people.

Constantly voted as Australia’s most livable city, Adelaide faces a range of environmental issues, from low rainfall in the summer months, to electricity shortages due to searing heat. However, this has also helped encourage the use of solar panels on new households, and to help with water, a new desalination plant which will be completely powered by the sun.

I have chosen to go on this diet in order to make a point to myself that I can make slight lifestyle alterations which will lead to an overall reduction in my net energy usage. The people I live with tend to be observant of their energy use and certainly do boast to others that they have a solar hot water system installed. However, I am sure that through these activities and challenges, I will be able to demonstrate to them small changes that they also might be able to make to their general lifestyle.

The general community, on the other hand, tend to be aware of environmental issues but are not necessarily willing or capable of making the choices that could lead to a decrease in energy use. Rebates are available for a large range of products, from solar panels, to new hot water systems, shower heads and washing machines.

The issue seems to be education rather than ignorance and unwillingness. For example, a few years ago, there was a campaign to encourage car owners to install gas tanks in their vehicles. A rebate was issued and owners made considerable savings, both in their energy usage but also in fuel costs. This was something that was well publicized and received an overwhelmingly positive public response.

Over the next eight weeks, I would like to get to the stage where I no longer drive to the Park N Ride for a bus to the city; and that I shall walk instead. I want to switch to food which is manufactured using less energy. I’d like to conserve my electricity and water usage to only those appliances necessary for day to day activities. This Energy Diet is a fantastic opportunity for me to experiment with and make changes to my lifestyle, with alterations which will eventually become second nature.