Now is the perfect time for companies to promote carbon footprint reduction programs in their daily operations. Reducing energy use is the first step in a carbon abatement program, which may involve both energy efficiency and energy conservation.
Both energy efficiency and energy conservation can help toward the goal of contributing to a reduction in the combustion of fossil fuels, which is the leading cause of climate change. However, companies and the public should know how to effectively implement both strategies to maximize their benefits.
Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation
In simple terms, energy efficiency aims to provide the same level of service (e.g., lighting, heating, cooling, computing) while using less energy.
Meanwhile, the energy conservation involves taking actions that eliminate the unnecessary consumption of energy (e.g., turning the lights off when leaving a room). Both can reduce electricity demand and reduce greenhouse emissions associated with energy consumption.
The two often overlap and complement. So what is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation? Let’s find out.
Energy efficiency refers to producing the same level of service while using less energy. The goal of energy efficiency is to use less energy while still performing the same task.
For example, changing fluorescent tubes in older office fixtures to their LED equivalent can halve building lighting energy use.
Energy efficiency can also be expressed as the ratio of energy output and corresponding energy input. If a system can use less energy and still produce the same result, it’s energy-efficient. We can also apply this formula to other resources, such as land and water in food production.
Energy conservation focuses on reducing energy consumption through choice. Turning off lights that aren’t currently needed or reducing the hours the air conditioning unit is turned on are perfect examples.
Another great way to conserve energy is to walk to a nearby convenience store instead of driving.
Energy conservation not only saves energy and money but also lowers environmental impact.
What Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Are NOT
Many people often confuse the usage of the roof top solar panels as equivalent to either or both energy efficiency and energy conservation. Solar power is a form of renewable energy generation. It has nothing to do with how energy is used. Solar power will have the same impact as energy efficiency or energy conservation – reduced energy bills – but it is not the same as energy efficiency or energy conservation.
As much as these concepts sometimes correlate, they are different and should not be treated as the same. One thing is sure; however, they all aim for sustainability.
Using Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation in Tandem
Ideally, companies must implement both energy efficiency and energy conservation protocols in their daily operations – doing so will ensure they conserve the most energy. Fortunately, many government agencies, such as the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), have programs that can help companies in this regard.
Smaller companies can also implement affordable energy solutions, such as purchasing office equipment with an ENERGY STAR logo, which provides useful savings. Additionally, it’s also essential to educate and empower employees to be energy-conscious and save energy in their workspace.
What Are Companies Mostly Doing Today?
Many companies worldwide are doing their part to use less energy. Some have adopted green building designs in their office. Modern green offices are designed with their local climate to minimize energy use for heating, cooling, and lighting.
Looking at the featured companies from Electric Choice, we can see how energy conservation and efficiency are helping save the planet. Here are several of the energy-efficient companies and their energy-saving strategies.
|Company / Industry||Annual Green kWh Used||Strategy|
|Walmart (Retail)||314,843,272 kWh||Energy efficiency by using LED lights and energy-efficient appliances throughout their stores.|
|Citi Bank (Banking)||100,004,259 kWh||Energy efficiency plus energy conservation implemented in their offices. Partnered with Kilowatt Financial to help homeowners invest in green kWh. The program helps homeowners save energy by financing energy-efficient retrofits, boiler and window replacements, lighting solutions, and insulating.|
|Samsung Electronics (Technology)||86,998,829 kWh||Energy conservation and efficiency by using ENERGY STAR appliances they have created throughout their stores.The organization was also awarded ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2015 in recognition of its efforts in educating its consumers about the positive impact of energy efficiency.|
|Starbucks (Restaurants and Cafes)||696,982,000||Installing new Energy Management Systems in more than 4,000 stores to optimize heating and cooling costs.|
|Albertson’s Inc. (Retail)||12,309,848 kWh||Uses sustainable practices by upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. They outfitted their stores with LED lighting.|
By purchasing green energy, undertaking energy efficiency upgrades, and practicing energy conservation, these companies have slashed their carbon footprints.
Furthermore, many companies try to have energy-efficient workplaces by upgrading their equipment to modern and greener models.
Which Should You Practice?
If there is a lesson that you and other companies can learn from the most energy-efficient companies, going green pays off in the long run. Furthermore, simple actions such as unplugging devices you are not currently using can have a valuable impact over time.
Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small startup, you can do a few things to save energy. Here are a few simple steps you can do right away:
- Regular Maintenance
Effective maintenance of air conditioning, ventilation and heating equipment may give savings of 10% or more. Advanced businesses are now often using sensors to monitor the performance of equipment and using sensor data to guide when maintenance activities so as to minimize energy losses.
- Upgrade to Energy Efficient Equipment
Switching old appliances to energy-efficient ones can improve your company’s sustainability. Investing in equipment with a higher grade energy label will pay off over time since power costs will be lower.
- Participate in Energy Efficiency Programs
Utility companies, and government agencies offer energy efficiency programs to help companies save energy.One way of finding if such programs exist where you are is to do a web search using the terms “[name of your state] energy efficiency programs” or “[name of your state] energy savings programs”.
- Consider Using Solar Power
After implementing energy efficiency and conservation efforts, on-site renewable energy sources can be considered. They leave little to no carbon footprint, and these energy sources are also efficient and increasingly cost-effective.
Securing a Brighter Future
Understanding the roles of energy efficiency and energy conservation can play in meeting sustainability goals is vital for companies and individuals. With it, we can help the worldwide effort to conserve and efficiently use energy and combat the effects of climate change.