We sometimes find there is confusion about what energy efficiency is and is not. Most simply, energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same or better services.
According to Lawrence Berkeley Labs:
Energy efficiency means using less energy to produce the same amount of output. Energy efficiency is not energy conservation, which refers to reducing or eliminating a good or service to save energy. Instead, it means maximizing the productivity of each unit of energy we use. One example is our use of electric light. Turning off a light to save energy is energy conservation. However, replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, which uses less energy to produce the same amount of light, is energy efficiency.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE):
Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same or better products, services or amenities, while providing multiple benefits for households and businesses. Some examples are upgrading an office lighting system with LEDs and smart sensors, adding insulation to a home, or improving a manufacturing process.
The Benefits of Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is often referred to as a “least cost resource,” meaning that it is the single most cost-effective productivity tool we have within an energy portfolio. Energy efficiency measures make it possible for us to create products, services and benefits for the lowest energy cost. In addition, because energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy that gets wasted, it offers many important benefits, including:
- The opportunity to defer or eliminate the need to build new electric power generating and transmitting facilities and capacity, which keeps electric rates lower;
- The opportunity to reduce electricity bills for utility customers who participate in energy efficiency programs and rebates AND lower rates for all customers;
- The opportunity to address electric grid constraints, and enhance grid reliability, especially during peak hours;
- Reduced environmental impact;
- Local job creation and economic growth;
- Improved health, comfort and productivity for all citizens.