Energy efficiency is more than just a buzz word. It is both a science and discipline observed by countries, organisations and other institutions alike to maintain optimal energy usage. Powering modern cities consumes resources that impact negatively on the environment, such as excess carbon that contributes to rising climate temperature. As a result, the G8 countries have shifted the question in the climate accord from "Are we producing enough energy" to "Are we producing too much energy at an unsustainable cycle". It is a paradigm shift where energy hungry countries become energy conscious and the focus is no longer on a large-scale energy production. Rather, it turns into a question of global awareness on how energy is consumed.
As energy efficiency is now a worldwide question government, organisations and businesses are becoming conscious about energy usage and its energy efficiency. The initiative has also made its way to households. Households are considered as the modern society's most basic unit. If we weigh household units and their total energy consumption on a global scale, then households, which consist of millions globally, have a huge bearing when it comes to the world's energy consumption.
To better understand energy efficiency, we must first arrive to its core definition. Energy efficiency's classical dictionary definition is 'percentage of total energy input to a machine or equipment that is consumed in useful work and not wasted as useless heat.' (Business Dictionary)
Now imagine, for example, that the home is a functioning machine that consists of parts to be able to continuously work. The home's functional systems that include its heating/cooling and lighting for example are outlets for energy consumption.
To determine a home's energy efficiency rate, we need to categorise the energy consumption areas into four ratios:
With the four given categories, we'll use for the United States Home Energy Score as an example:
The difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency is commonly misinterpreted, but we cannot discount the importance between the two. To understand the impact of both to a home's energy score and energy bill, we must first distinguish the two.
Energy conservation is the act of saving energy by reducing its overall usage. In other words, to conserve energy for your home, household members must pledge to lessen the use of electronics for entertainment or generally avoiding computers in a state of standby mode.
In these examples, you are reducing the amount of energy you use by doing without or making do with less home energy. Conserving energy means cutting down on comfort levels and electronics for recreation usage, but this will help lower monthly electric bills and save money in the long run.
Energy Efficiency is an approach that deals with the ways to lower overall energy consumption, but unlike conservation, it does not make drastic changes in a household's accustomed comfort level or electronics recreation. Instead, efficiency focuses on the knowledge base to measure consumption and the ways to extend its value and mileage.
Â In an energy conservation act, a person can pledge to not use household lighting during daytime. In an energy efficiency act, household lighting gets replaced in favour of more energy efficient lead bulbs.
Technology has progressed to keep up with the demand of the modern times for the practice of home energy efficiency. carbonTRACK's energy management system, allow homeowners to see which areas are contributing to the high cost of energy bills. This way, homeowners can practice both energy conservation and energy efficiency. With the insight on energy consumption given by the system, homeowners can make the most accurate decision making on how to effectively manage their home's energy and start contributing to a much more sustainable future.