Basically, energy efficiency is anything that helps lower your power bill and conserves natural resources. Say you have a power hog of a refrigerator with a door seal that is missing and you install a new door seal – have you made the refrigerator more power efficient? For the desire to save power and lower our power bill, then, yes – you have made the refrigerator more energy efficient. I like this definition. Too bad it’s not correct.
By replacing the refrigerator door seal, energy has been saved, but, of course, the refrigerator is still the old hog it always was. It seems saving energy is not the same as energy efficiency. Wish it was that simple, but if it lowers the power bill, it might be energy savings and it might be energy efficiency.
Well, lets leave the door seal behind and look at energy efficiency this way.
Converting Energy: Converting energy from it’s natural form, ( oil, natural gas, hydro ) to our intended use is never completely successful. Some power is not fully converted and escapes and is lost. In older natural gas furnaces, for example, less than 60% of the potential energy in the gas actually heats the living room.
For years now, researchers and analysts have considered the gross national product and power consumption to be connected at the elbows. The GNP increased and energy consumption increased and that was just the way it was. The heck with refrigerator door seals, there were more refrigerators so there was more energy consumption and that was OK.
We look at a door seal a little differently today. We now realize that to preserve our standard of living, our security, and our environment, we need to become more efficient. The term energy efficient then describes our efforts to reduce energy waste and provide more energy benefits with less environmental damage.
The benefits of Energy Efficiency: Energy Security: I have heard that some conservationist feel that energy efficiency won’t really get popular until home security becomes more closely connected to conservation. In this case, security goes a little beyond an individual home. Energy security for communities means less dependency on foreign fuel supplies and less vulnerability to price and supply fluctuations.
Environmental Healing: Saving energy is the same as wasting less energy. Wasting less energy allows the environment more time to recover from the damage caused by energy exploration and use. Each time you install a new big screen TV or push the temperature up on the thermostat, you and the environment have a little healing to do.
Sustainable Energy: Future generations are going to appreciate the energy we don’t waste. Who knows, maybe someone in a future generation or two would like to have some fossil fuel to burn.
Lifestyle reaction to living energy efficient.
An energy efficient lifestyle then is both the desire to identify and to correct energy waste:
- Yes, I sold the hummer – I drive a Honda Accord now.
- I set the thermostat at 68 degrees instead of 74 degrees now.
- I turned the temperature down on the water heater and wash in cold water now.
- I have changed all my light bulbs to compact fluorescent.
On an average, data and research indicate, our homes use one-and-a-half times as much energy as energy efficient homes. It’s a good thing to conserve energy, something to be proud of, something to brag about, something to gift our children.
Thank you for stopping by, hope to see you soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…