| John Spacey, June 27, 2017 updated on February 24, 2023
Energy efficiency is the process of reducing the energy consumption of infrastructure, facilities, buildings, machines, devices, products, services, business processes, activities and transport. Efficiency is the opposite of waste. Energy efficiency can reduce cost, improve competitiveness, reduce environmental impact and improve quality of life. The following are common examples of energy efficiency.
ReuseThings take energy to make. As such, reuse conserves energy. For example, renovating an old building to give it new life may use far less energy than tearing it down and completely rebuilding it.
Passive DesignDesigns that don't require power such as windows versus electric lights. Passive design is commonly used to light, heat and cool buildings.
Resource UtilizationUsing resources that are freely available such as solar panels that capture the energy hitting a building as sunlight.
Efficient DesignThings engineered to use less energy. It is common for existing designs to only use a small fraction of the energy they consume for useful purposes. As such, design improvements can be significant. For example, an incandescent light bulb converts less than 5% of energy to visible light. A white LED light bulb with phosphorescence color mixing can exceed 20% efficiency.
LifestyleChanges in lifestyle such as living close to the things you need has a significant impact on your energy consumption. In Japan, a campaign known as Cool Biz encourages office workers to dress informally in summer and companies to set air conditions to 28 °C, or 82 °F.
Power DownTurning things off when you're not using them. For example, reducing excessive outdoor lighting that may represent light pollution.
MaintenanceKeeping things in good repair can reduce energy consumption. Repairing things over replacing them also conserves energy.
Waste ReductionReducing leaks and other wastes of energy. For example, renovation of an old building to improve insulation.
UtilizationAchieving a high utilization rate for resources. For example, a train that carries thousands of passengers versus thousands of cars with one passenger.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about energy efficiency.
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