Everything you need to know about energy conservation and energy efficiency to enhance your energy strategy20 October 2022
Using less is one of the best ways to make your energy consumption more sustainable and less expensive both at home and at work. But how do you do that? There are two basic ways: energy conservation and energy efficiency. Let’s look at what each term means and how you can integrate these processes into your energy habits.
Understanding the terms
Take a look at the nearest light switch. Turning it off when the windows provide plenty of natural light is an example of energy conservation. When you conserve energy, you adjust your habits to use less of it. Swapping the old lightbulb tied to that switch for a newer LED bulb that draws less electricity is energy efficiency.
Both approaches share the same goal: using less energy. One does it via changing your behaviors and the other through altering the choices behind your behaviors. In our example, it is a matter of using the light switch less, and using it in a better way.
Incorporating energy conservation
Energy conservation starts with asking whether you need to use energy to accomplish your goal. It also means examining your past choices to change your future behaviors and looking for ways to use existing resources in more economical ways. With our light switch example, you can open a curtain instead. Or, if the sun doesn’t provide enough light, turn on a desk lamp rather than multiple overhead lights.
Energy conservation choices save you money with lower energy bills and less wear and tear on your resources. Turning on a light bulb less often will mean that the light bulb will last longer. Likewise, if you walk to a nearby store instead of driving, you are buying less gas for your car and also putting fewer miles on it, meaning it lasts longer.
With energy conservation, you waste less. A thoughtful examination of your habits leads to changes that cut out unnecessary energy-consuming actions.
Examples of energy conservation activities
- If your business uses heavy equipment, reduce the time your machines are turned on and sitting idle.
- Adjust the setting on your thermostat and wear a sweater or use a small fan to stay comfortable on a hot day.
- Unplug electronics when they aren’t in use. Many items can use a surprising amount of power in standby or sleep modes.
Practicing energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is based on making the same choices less energy-intensive. Looking for more efficient ways of performing the same tasks leads to being more energy-efficient. When you turn on a LED bulb, you still flip on the light switch, but consuming less energy.
Instead of changing your actions, you reduce the energy resources your actions consume by choosing more efficient ways to do them. In many cases, there are machines or services that use less energy to perform the same task. For example, a vehicle with better gas mileage still gets you where you need to go. Or, if you run a property management business, imagine how much you could save by switching to LED lights in all the buildings you operate.
Energy efficiency often requires an upfront investment but saves both energy and money in the long term. Upgrading your lighting infrastructure to LED lights will require time and money, but it will bring a consistent ROI.
With energy efficiency, you waste less by reconsidering how your daily operations use power and making changes and updates where necessary. An energy audit can help you identify the most profitable opportunities to start your company’s journey towards energy efficiency.
Examples of energy efficiency activities
- Replace older appliances and machines. New equipment is often much more energy efficient while being just as effective.
- Add insulation to your business or home.
- Seal gaps around doors, windows, and outlets.
- Insulate your water heater, or consider replacing it with a tankless version.
- Make the switch to LED bulbs not just in your light fixtures but also for decorative lighting.
- Install a smart thermostat.
Bonus: Look at your energy procurement strategy to see if you can find cleaner sources. While this won’t help you use less, it will help you harm less. The energy powering your business can make a more efficient use of resources.
Ideally, you will integrate both conservation and efficiency into your company’s energy choices. Doing so, you’ll notice a consistently positive effect on your bottom line. Following our example, make sure you open the curtain when you can, but flip the switch to turn on your efficient LED bulb after the sun sets. Together, energy efficiency and conservation activities amplify the money you save and further diminish your environmental impact.
If you need help finding ways to conserve energy and run your company in a more energy-efficient way, energy efficiency consulting firms can evaluate your business and find ways to help you save.
Energy conservation and efficiency are popular topics today because of their environmental, economic, and social benefits. Energy is a finite resource that needs to be used responsibly for the health and well-being of the environment, economy, and society. Using energy more wisely through energy conservation measures and energy efficiency technologies can reduce our environmental footprint and help create a sustainable future. This infographic will help you understand the basics of energy conservation, efficiency, and other methods to improve your energy strategy.
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