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Energy conservation is the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used. It may be achieved through efficient energy use, in which case energy use is decreased while achieving a similar outcome, or by reduced consumption of energy services. Energy conservation may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human comfort. Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy may want to conserve energy in order to reduce energy costs and promote economic security. Industrial and commercial users may want to increase efficiency and thus maximize profit.

Introduction

Electrical energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. Energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita and thus offsets some of the growth in energy supply needed to keep up with population growth. This reduces the rise in energy costs, and can reduce the need for new power plants, and energy imports. The reduced energy demand can provide more flexibility in choosing the most preferred methods of energy production.

By reducing emissions, energy conservation is an important part of lessening climate change. Energy conservation facilitates the replacement of non-renewable resources with renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages, and is a more environmentally benign alternative to increased energy production.

Energy conservation by country

India

Bureau of Energy Efficiency is an Indian governmental apex organization created in 2002 responsible for promoting energy efficiency and conservation.

Japan

Since the 1973 energy crisis, energy conservation has been a serious issue in Japan . While the Energy Conservation Center promotes energy efficiency in every aspect, private entities are implementing the efficient use of energy to industries.

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is responsible for promoting energy efficiency and conservation.

United Kingdom

Energy conservation in the United Kingdommarker has been receiving increased attention over recent years. Key factors behind this are the Government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions, the projected 'energy gap' in UK electricity generation, and the increasing reliance on imports to meet national energy needs. Domestic housing and road transport are currently the two biggest problem areas.

The UK Government has jointly funded the Energy Saving Trust to promote energy conservation at a consumer, business and community level since 1993.

United States

The United States is currently the largest single consumer of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy categorizes national energy use in four broad sectors: transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial.

Energy usage in transportation and residential sectors (about half of U.S. energy consumption) is largely controlled by individual domestic consumers. Commercial and industrial energy expenditures are determined by businesses entities and other facility managers. National energy policy has a significant effect on energy usage across all four sectors.

Issues with energy conservation

Critics and advocates of some forms of energy conservation make the following arguments:

  • Standard economic theory suggests that technological improvements that increase energy efficiency will tend to increase, rather than reduce energy use. This is called the Jevons Paradox and it is said to occur in two ways. Firstly, increased energy efficiency makes the use of energy relatively cheaper, thus encouraging increased use. Secondly, increased energy efficiency leads to increased economic growth, which pulls up energy use in the whole economy. This does not imply that increased fuel efficiency is worthless, increased fuel efficiency enables greater production and a higher quality of life. However, in order to reduce energy consumption, efficiency gains must be paired with a government intervention that reduces demand (a green tax, cap and trade).
  • Some retailers argue that bright lighting stimulates purchasing. Health studies have demonstrated that headache, stress, blood pressure, fatigue and worker error all generally increase with the common over-illumination present in many workplace and retail settings . It has been shown that natural daylighting increases productivity levels of workers, while reducing energy consumption.
  • The use of telecommuting by major corporations is a significant opportunity to conserve energy, as many Americans now work in service jobs that enable them to work from home instead of commuting to work each day.
  • Electric motors consume more than 60% of all electrical energy generated and are responsible for the loss of 10 to 20% of all electricity converted into mechanical energy.
  • Consumers are often poorly informed of the savings of energy efficient products. The research one must put into conserving energy often is too time consuming and costly when there are cheaper products and technology available using today's fossil fuels.
  • Technology needs to be able to change behavioural patterns, it can do this by allowing energy users, business and residential, to see graphically the impact their energy use can have in their workplace or homes. Advance real-time energy metering is able to help "people" save energy by their actions. Rather than become wasteful automatic energy saving technologies, real-time energy monitors and meters such as the Energy Detective, Enigin Plc's Eniscope or solutions like EDSA'a Paladin Live are examples of such solutions


See also



References

  1. US Dept. of Energy, " Annual Energy Report" (July 2006), Energy Flow diagram
  2. Wackernagel, Mathis and William Rees, 1997, "Perpetual and structural barriers to investing in natural capital: economics from an ecological footprint perspective." Ecological Economics, Vol.20 No.3 p3-24.
  3. Lumina Technologies Inc., Santa Rosa, Ca., Survey of 156 California commercial buildings energy use, August, 1996
  4. Best Buy Optimas Award Winner for 2007
  5. European Commission of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability, "Electricity Consumption and Efficiency Trends in the Enlarged European Union [1]", 2006
  6. The Difficulties of Energy Efficiency. "The Elusive Negawatt [2]", 2008
  7. July 2009 European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy and Transport initiative, "Energy Savings from Intelligent Metering and Behavioural Change (INTELLIGENT METERING) http://www.managenergy.net/products/R1951.htm", 2009


  • Gary Steffy, Architectural Lighting Design, John Wiley and Sons (2001) ISBN 0-471-38638-3
  • Lumina Technologies, Analysis of energy consumption in a San Francisco Bay Area research office complex, for (confidential) owner, Santa Rosa, Ca. May 17, 1996
  • GSA paves way for IT-based buildings [55423]
  • The official homepage for the European Intelligent Metering project. [55424]


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