Energy and Utilities Infrastructure: Can All be in One?
In today‘s developed society it is fully expected that every household is provided with general utility products such as heating, lighting, water supply, communication, and waste removal. Provision of these utility products requires large and complex physical, economic and social structures that interact and are interdependent. Furthermore, we underline that each distinct utility product (communication, transportation, water, etc.) provided to our households incurs similar material and embodied energy expenses. But are such structures and their respective expenses really necessary? Or could energy (and other resources) be saved by reducing redundant utility infrastructures, while still maintaining services to the households? Conventional approaches to improved utility provision focus on better management models with optimization, enhanced handling, and increased efficiency in organisations. This paper, on the other hand, presents a novel and radical idea to address this complex problem, by moving from the management level to the scientific & technological level. The paper challenges the need for distinct utility infrastructures for household utility products provision. In particular, the paper discusses the emerging scientific and technological options for using a single energy-provision infrastructure, which would potentially deliver the full set of household utility services.
Citation:Camci, F., Ulanicki, B., Boxall, B., Chitchyan, R. and Varga, L. (2011) Energy and Utilities Infrastructure: Can All be in One? International Conference, Energy and People: Futures, complexity and challenges, September 2011, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University & The UKERC Meeting Place .
Research Group:Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced Systems