GULU – This week, Inclusive Markets for Energy Efficiency in Uganda – IMEU hosted a media engagement in Gulu district on energy efficiency which focused on the elimination of energy waste.
Jacob Etunganan, an Energy Efficiency Expert at IMEU told the journalists that energy efficiency not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also lowers costs on a household and economy-wide level.
To ensure this, he noted that there is a need to employ better technologies that will use less energy to do the same amount of work.
However, he noted that this starts with awareness, hence media training.
“For adoption of any technology, and specifically, an energy-efficient technology, it starts with a mindset change and to have that mindset change, one has to be aware of what are the specific issues that technology is addressing.”
“In this case for energy-efficient technology, you are striving at reducing the costs of energy used; that is charcoal, firewood, electricity used but at a reduced cost,” he added.
However, he said that also there is a need for the technology to be known, but also the availability.
Etunganan said that this will enable people to enjoy the benefits of the technology in areas of cooking, lighting, cooling and others.
He, however, said there is also a need for the best practices even with these technologies. “Just switching off your lights is an energy-efficient practice.”
The expert also discouraged people from always opting for the cheapest which in the long run becomes very expensive.
“What is actually the cheapest becomes more expensive because it means that you will be paying additional operating costs.”
“We need to educate our communities on understanding what is the cost-benefit of the technology you’re buying, without only considering the cost element, because all the purchase decision of businesses evolves around cost.”
Etunganan also appreciated the importance of the good workmanship of the installation of these technologies.
“If we give an example of solar, it is not only to go to say oh this solar was fake it may not be the solid hours, but ideally it was the workmanship. How was the positioning of that solar panel? How was the sizing of the whole technology? Was it sized such that the battery size that you have now is accurate based on the load of that particular household that you have? Was it positioned at an angle that is required? So all the aspects of workmanship actually contribute to critical issues around quality of a particular service and energy so beyond the technology,” he noted.
On affordability, he implored businesses to go beyond just looking at those that can pay cash to even looking at the rural areas where communities may not have money upfront, but can be able to pay in installments.
“How do you make a group of women in a rural village afford an improved cook stove just by them contributing money through their organized saving groups so that they are able to actually purchase the would-be expensive technology at an affordable price.”