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The Difference between Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

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The Difference between Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory energy efficiency is, “using less energy to provide the same service”1.

 A good example of energy
efficiency is when you exchange an old
refrigerator for a newer, ENERGY STAR®
qualified refrigerator. Your home is still
receiving the same service – chilled food
– but you’re accomplishing this using
less electricity. Energy conservation
is actually reducing or going without a
service to save energy. Turn off a light
and you are conserving energy; replace
an incandescent bulb with a CFL or
LED bulb, and you are practicing energy
efficiency. Both strategies can reduce your
electric costs and reduce green house
emissions.

One complication when considering your
energy consumption is the growing menu
of electric appliances in homes today.
Most homes have added more items that
plug into the wall – the average household
today consumes far more energy than at
any time in our past. We no longer have
only one television set, but have sets in
several rooms along with dvd players,
surround sound systems and game systems.
We have computers – often multiple
computers – in our homes. We use dryers
rather than hang our clothing on a line
to air dry. These changes have made our
homes more comfortable, made living our
lives easier, but we are consuming more
electricity as a result.

United Power’s rebates are designed with
energy efficiency in mind. The rebates
will help steer you toward efficient
household
appliances,
encourage you
to replace older
appliances or
plan for more
efficient ways
to heat and cool your home. It is the
most effective way we can encourage
you to make choices for the
future that we know will
save you money month after
month. Some low cost energy
efficient improvements you
can consider include caulking
around windows, vents, and
other openings into your
home, weather stripping
around doors, and replacing
incandescent light bulbs with
energy efficient LED’s or CFL’s.
Higher cost improvements
might include replacing older
household appliances with
ENERGY STAR® models,
replacing older heating and
cooling systems, and adding
insulation.

Energy conservation actually
addresses your behavior in
your home, and we are all
responsible for the behaviors
that help us reduce our energy
consumption every day. These
are the types of behaviors
that your parents may have
employed as you were growing
up to help you learn to be more
efficient. Small behaviors are the easiest
to change – turn off the lights when you
aren’t in the room, turn off televisions
that no one is watching, and turn off
computers during the night. Add to these
simple changes items like putting on a
sweater and turning down the heat a few
degrees, using cold water to wash clothes,
opening or closing curtains to let in or
keep out the warmth of the sun, and you
see how these
behaviors can
drive some cost
savings.

While energy
efficiency is
often discussed in terms of “payback”,
which means how long you need to
use an appliance or technology to earn
back the investment you made into the
replacement, energy conservation is more
difficult to gauge. But don’t dismiss the
behavior based changes. Recent research
into the area of behavior based energy
conservation shows that households who
commit to changing their behaviors can
often see a reduction in energy costs of as
much as 5-6%. Even after the initial drive
to reduce energy consumption, households
who made a conscious effort to consider
energy conservation for up to six months
were able to maintain savings of up to 2%
on their energy bill a year later – not bad
for a small investment of time and effort.

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