Energy Efficiency is a popular buzz word at the moment, but what does it actually mean? Essentially, energy efficiency is when something uses less energy to provide the same service and level/quality of output. Often times, it gets lumped into mean anything that is an energy-saving measure, but it should be noted that energy conservation is actually a different mode of preserving energy. While energy efficiency refers to something like using a fluorescent light bulb as opposed to a traditional incandescent one, energy conservation can include foregoing using an energy source altogether (such as a thermostat or car).
Should You Prioritize Energy Efficiency? Implementing energy efficiency in your own home is a crucially important strategy for ultimately reducing costs and contributing to the fight against climate change. The Department of Energy says, “Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to combat climate change, clean the air we breathe, improve the competitiveness of our businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers.”
Though many businesses and homeowners might complain about the initial costs of energy efficiency (spending the money to switch out all light bulbs, strengthen insulation, install double-paned windows, etc.), ultimately, energy efficiency will result in reduced energy costs long term. On a more personal level, using energy efficient techniques in one’s own home will greatly reduced utility bills because less energy, electricity, etc. will be required to perform the same services, such as keeping the house cool or warm.
what is energy efficiencyPresident Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande at the U.N. conference on climate change
Additionally, energy efficiency is a crucial tactic in the fight against climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA), who played a role in the landmark Paris Agreements, have conducted research into the vast impact of energy efficiency in a global energy transition. “Energy efficiency is the one energy resource that all countries possess in abundance,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “I welcome the improvement in global energy efficiency, particularly at a time of lower energy prices. This is a sign that many governments push the energy efficiency policies, and it works.” Research suggests that the implementation of energy efficiency in everything from home insulation to vehicle’s use of fuel can help reduce carbon emissions by over 10% by 2020.
How Can You Be Energy Efficient?
Energy efficiency can start in small ways and can be executed on a personal, individual level. Because of this, it’s one of the most promising policies in efforts to combat climate change and one with the aim of delivering maximum social and economic benefits. According to the IEA, efficiency standards now cover 30% of energy use globally. Over a third of all emissions reductions needed to reach climate goals by 2040 must come from energy efficiency policies. In addition to switching to low-carbon energy sources and employing energy conservation strategies, energy efficiency is a key way to reduce CO2 emissions.
Thus, energy efficiency is key for promoting environmental protections, as well as a long-term way to reduce your energy costs in your own home. Once you have a better understanding of what energy efficiency is, you can start to educate others in your community about the long term benefits of saving energy and transforming the way we consume resources.