What is a Literature Review?

A Literature Review is another way of advancing scholarship. It is a way of surveying the existing scholarship. In my Literature Review I examined the existing scholarship around sustainable energy and the economics surrounding it.

I will provide a copy of my Literature Review below. To learn more about Literature Reviews, please go to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab . (link opens in new window.)

My Literature Review

Some people might not care about the planet or what happens to it when humans are irresponsible. Some people might not even care about the human race. However, people are always more caring about themselves, their ease of life, and their money. Regardless of whether or not you care about the environment, there are an abundance of sources that show many of the decisions one can make to save money are also environmentally friendly. If we really want to save money, the logical solution is to hit our energy use and energy inefficiency hardest at a point where it exists most: our homes.
The bridge between the economical success and environmental friendliness of your home springs from the optimization of the energy that you use; make sure your energy use is efficient before pumping more energy into it.
More than any other author I have examined, William H. Kemp puts major emphasis on this point. He quotes Amory Lovins, who said "generate negawatts not megawatts" (3) Further on in the book, Kemp will drill the strategy of optimization of energy (31). Kemp's book is both a Do-It-Yourself guide, and a treatise on the "why's?" of sustainable technology. He admits that sustainable systems cost to much for homes, therefore enhancing your own energy use is imperative before you install sustainable energy sources.
Part of being sustainable is reusing something you already bought and giving it new life. The employment of a strategy like this is good for you, and--whether or not you care--planet Earth. Kathy Stein's book Beyond Recycling: A Re-user's Guide: 336 Practical Tips to Save Money and Protect the Environment has exactly this topic in mind: saving money via reuse of already purchased products. On top of saving money by giving a new life to something you already bought, you are in effect helping the environment by keeping it out of landfills. On top of this, the book is very accessible: you open the book, look up what product you want to reuse, and she has instructions, ideas, and more places to look for further information.
Despite the amount of information available to homeowners, the drive to get this information may be limited. The desire for more knowledge can be caused by apathy, or just unintentional ignorance. Richard Ball suggests that people might just think that they are being as energy efficient as possible, and that they can not do much more. This is an important aspect of energy efficiency to examine because if people think they are doing all they can, when they are not, it becomes a controversy.
Understanding the "doing all you can" mentality is incredibly important in this field. It seems odd to me that people would think that they are doing all they can because I feel as if everything has room for improvement--which it does. It is imperative for people who want to comprehend their own energy use and ways to improve it to understand that there is always something more that you can do--both for yourself, your energy bill, your home, and your planet.
For people who are stuck without ideas on how to optimize their home's energy use, there is still an abundance of sources. Alan and Gill Bridgewater's book Renewable Energy for your Home has numerous ingenious projects to optimize energy use (via insulation, for example) and on top of that how to then become sustainable. This book was recently published and is accessible to civilians due to it's format.
On the internet, the United States' Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency understands the internet is a good medium to communicate energy efficiency; they also understand the struggle many of their citizens are facing. They are trying to solve the problem be putting an emphasis on the amount of money you can save by the simple optimization of energy.
A further facet of the emphasis they put on the idea of sustainability is Energy Star. It is a joint effort between The Department of Energy and The Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of this Agency is to "[help] us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices." But it is also to reduce the strain on the utilities of the country. Energy Star's audience is primarily consumers and homeowners. Almost anyone can recall the "Energy Star" stickers and labels they find on appliances (which are always 10-50% more efficient.)
If there is one sinewy thread that runs through the body of energy optimization and sustainability it is first and foremost the saving of money. Nearly every source placed large emphasis on saving money by being more efficient in energy use. In the Sustainable Energy movement there is something for everyone; whether or not you care about the planet you can save money.


Ball, Richard, Ross Cullen, and Christopher Gan. "The Diffusion of Energy Efficiency Innovations among Residential Energy Consumers." New Zealand Economic Papers 33.1 (1999): 115. Questia. Web. 3 Mar. 2010.

Bridgewater, Alan, and Gill Bridgewater. Renewable Energy for Your Home: Using Off-Grid Energy to Reduce Your Footprint, Lower Your Bills and be More Self-Sufficient. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 2009. Print.

"Department of Energy ." Department of Energy . United States of America, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. <http://www.doe.gov>.

"Energy Star's Web Page." Energy Star. DOE and EPA, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. <http://energystar.com>.

Kemp, William H.. The Renewable Energy Handbook: A Guide to Rural Energy Independence, Off-grid And Sustainable Living. Ontario, Canada : Aztext Press, 2005. Print.

Stein, Kathy. Beyond Recycling: A Re-user's Guide: 336 Practical Tips to Save Money and Protect the Environment. Ithaca, NY: Clear Light Books, 1997. Print.