This article is about sustainable energy use. For the law of conservation of energy in physics, see Conservation of energy.
Energy conservation are efforts made to reduce the consumption of energy by using less of an energy service. This can be achieved either by using energy more efficiently (using less energy for a constant service) or by reducing the amount of services used (for example, by driving less). Energy conservation is a part of the concept of eco-sufficiency. Energy conservation reduces the need for energy services, and can result in increased environmental quality, national security, personal financial security and higher savings. It is at the top of the sustainable energy hierarchy. It also lowers energy costs by preventing future resource depletion.
Energy can be conserved by reducing wastage and losses, improving efficiency through technological upgradation and improved operation and maintenance.
Some countries employ energy or carbon taxes to motivate energy users to reduce their consumption. Carbon taxes can allow consumption to shift to nuclear power and other alternatives that carry a different set of environmental side effects and limitations. Meanwhile, taxes on all energy consumption stand to reduce energy use across the board, while reducing a broader array of environmental consequences arising from energy production. The State of California employs a tiered energy tax whereby every consumer receives a baseline energy allowance that carries a low tax. As usage increases above that baseline, the tax is increasing drastically. Such programs aim to protect poorer households while creating a larger tax burden for high energy consumers.
One of the primary ways to improve energy conservation in buildings is to use an energy audit. An energy audit is an inspection and analysis of energy use and flows for energy conservation in a building, process or system to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output(s). This is normally accomplished by trained professionals and can be part of some of the national programs discussed above. In addition, recent development of smartphone apps enable homeowners to complete relatively sophisticated energy audits themselves.
Building technologies and smart meters can allow energy users, business and residential, to see graphically the impact their energy use can have in their workplace or homes. Advanced real-time energy metering is able to help people save energy by their actions.
In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.
The key to designing a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate. Elements to be considered include window placement and glazing type, thermal insulation, thermal mass, and shading. Passive solar design techniques can be applied most easily to new buildings, but existing buildings can be retrofitted.
In the United States, suburban infrastructure evolved during an age of relatively easy access to fossil fuels, which has led to transportation-dependent systems of living. Zoning reforms that allow greater urban density as well as designs for walking and bicycling can greatly reduce energy consumed for transportation. 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.
Consumers are often poorly informed of the savings of energy efficient products. A prominent example of this is the energy savings that can be made by replacing an incandescent light bulb with a more modern alternative. When purchasing light bulbs, many consumers opt for cheap incandescent bulbs, failing to take into account their higher energy costs and lower lifespans when compared to modern compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. Although these energy-efficient alternatives have a higher upfront cost, their long lifespan and low energy use can save consumers a considerable amount of money. The price of LEDs has also been steadily decreasing in the past five years, due to improvement of the semiconductor technology. Many LED bulbs on the market qualify for utility rebates that further reduce the price of purchase to the consumer. Estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy state that widespread adoption of LED lighting over the next 20 years could result in about $265 billion worth of savings in United States energy costs.
The research one must put into conserving energy is often too time consuming and costly for the average consumer, when there are cheaper products and technology available using today's fossil fuels. Some governments and NGOs are attempting to reduce this complexity with ecolabels that make differences in energy efficiency easy to research while shopping.
To provide the kind of information and support people need to invest money, time and effort in energy conservation, it is important to understand and link to people's topical concerns. For instance, some retailers argue that bright lighting stimulates purchasing. However, 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.
In warm climates where air conditioning is used, any household device that gives off heat will result in a larger load on the cooling system. Items such as a stove, dish washer, clothes dryer, hot water and incandescent lighting all add heat to the home. Low power or insulated versions of these devices give off less heat for the air conditioning to remove. The air conditioning system can also improve in efficiency by using a heat sink that is cooler than the standard air heat exchanger such as geothermal or water.
In cold climates heating air and water is a major demand on household energy use. By investing in newer technologies in the home, significant energy reductions are possible. Heat pumps are a more efficient alternative to using electrical resistance heaters for warming air or water. A variety of efficient clothes dryers are available, and the classic clothes line requires no energy, only time. Natural gas condensing boilers and hot air furnaces increase efficiency over standard hot flue models. New construction implementing heat exchangers can capture heat from waste water or exhaust air in bathrooms, laundry and kitchens.
In both warm and cold climate extremes, airtight thermal insulated construction will largely determine the efficiency of a home. Insulation is added to minimize the flow of heat to or from the home, but can be labor-intensive to retrofit to an existing home.
Energy conservation by the countries
Despite the vital role energy efficiency is envisaged to play in cost-effectively cutting energy demand, only a small part of its economic potential is exploited in the Asia. Governments have implemented a range of subsidies such as cash grants, cheap credit, tax exemptions, and co-financing with public-sector funds to encourage a range of energy-efficiency initiatives across several sectors. Governments in the Asia-Pacific region have implemented a range of information provision and labeling programs for buildings, appliances, and the transportation and industrial sectors. Information programs can simply provide data, such as fuel-economy labels, or actively seek to encourage behavioral changes, such as Japan's Cool Biz campaign that encourages setting air conditioners at 28-degrees Celsius and allowing employees to dress casually in the summer.
At the end of 2006, the European Union (EU) pledged to cut its annual consumption of primary energy by 20% by 2020. The 'European Union Energy Efficiency Action Plan' is long-awaited. Directive 2012/27/EU is on energy efficiency.
As part of the EU's SAVE Programme, aimed at promoting energy efficiency and encouraging energy-saving behaviour, the Boiler Efficiency Directive specifies minimum levels of efficiency for boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fuels.
Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is an Indian government body created in 1977 and engaged in promoting energy efficiency and conservation in every walk of life. In the recent past PCRA has done mass media campaigns in television, radio & print media. An impact assessment survey by a third party revealed that due to these mega campaigns by PCRA, overall awareness level have gone up leading to saving of fossil fuels worth crores of rupees(Indian currency) besides reducing pollution.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency is an Indian governmental organization created in 2001 responsible for promoting energy efficiency and conservation.
Since the 1973 oil crisis, energy conservation has been an issue in Japan. All oil based fuel is imported, so indigenous sustainable energy is being developed.
The Energy Conservation Center promotes energy efficiency in every aspect of Japan. Public entities are implementing the efficient use of energy for industries and research. It includes projects such as the Top Runner Program. In this project, new appliances are regularly tested on efficiency, and the most efficient ones are made the standard.
In Lebanon and since 2002 The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) has been promoting the development of efficient and rational uses of energy and the use of renewable energy at the consumer level. It was created as a project financed by the International Environment Facility (GEF) and the Ministry of Energy Water (MEW) under the management of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and gradually established itself as an independent technical national center although it continues to be supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as indicated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between MEW and UNDP on 18 June 2007.
Until recently, Nepal has been focusing on the exploitation of its huge water resources to produce hydro power. Demand side management and energy conservation was not in the focus of government action. In 2009, bilateral Development Cooperation between Nepal and the Federal Republic of Germany, has agreed upon the joint implementation of "Nepal Energy Efficiency Programme". The lead executing agencies for the implementation are the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS). The aim of the programme is the promotion of energy efficiency in policy making, in rural and urban households as well as in the industry. Due to the lack of a government organization that promotes energy efficiency in the country, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has established the Energy Efficiency Centre under his roof to promote energy conservation in the private sector. The Energy Efficiency Centre is a non-profit initiative that is offering energy auditing services to the industries. The Centre is also supported by Nepal Energy Efficiency Programme of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. A study conducted in 2012 found out that Nepalese industries could save 160,000 Megawatt hours of electricity and 8,000 Terajoule of thermal energy (like diesel, furnace oil and coal) every year. These savings are equivalent to annual energy cost cut of up to 6.4 Billion Nepalese Rupees. As a result of Nepal Economic Forum 2014, an economic reform agenda in the priority sectors was declared focusing on energy conservation among others. In the energy reform agenda the government of Nepal gave the commitment to introduce incentive packages in the budget of the fiscal year 2015/16 for industries that practices energy efficiency or use efficient technologies (incl. cogeneration).
In New Zealand the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is the Government Agency responsible for promoting energy efficiency and conservation. The Energy Management Association of New Zealand is a membership based organization representing the New Zealand energy services sector, providing training and accreditation services with the aim of ensuring energy management services are credible and dependable.
In Nigeria, the Lagos State Government is encouraging Lagosians to imbibe an energy conservation culture. The Lagos State Electricity Board (LSEB) is spearheading an initiative tagged "Conserve Energy, Save Money" under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. The initiative is designed to sensitize Lagosians around the theme of energy conservation by connecting with and influencing their behavior through do-it-yourself tips and exciting interaction with prominent personalities. In September 2013, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State and rapper Jude 'MI' Abaga (campaign ambassador)() participated in the Governor's first ever Google+ Hangout on the topic of energy conservation.
In addition to the hangout, during the month of October (the official energy conservation month in the state), LSEB hosted experience centers in malls around Lagos State where members of the public were encouraged to calculate their current household energy consumption and discover ways to save money using the 1st-ever consumer-focused energy app in sub-saharan Africa. To get Lagosians started on energy conservation, Solar Lamps and Phillips Energy-saving bulbs were also given out at each experience center. Pictures from the experience centers: (part of Lagos state government energy initiatives)
Sri Lanka currently consumes fossil fuels, hydro power, wind power, solar power and dendro power for their day to day power generation. The Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority is playing a major role regarding energy management and energy conservation. Today, most of the industries are requested to reduce their energy consumption by using renewable energy sources and optimizing their energy usage.
Turkey aims to decrease by at least 20% the amount of energy consumed per GDP of Turkey by the year 2023 (energy intensity).
Main article: Energy conservation in the United States
The United States is currently the second largest single consumer of energy, following China. 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 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.
Another aspect of energy conversation is using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. (LEED) This program is not mandatory, it is voluntary. This program has many categories, Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite, applies to energy conservation. This section focuses on energy performance, renewable energy, energy performance, and many more. This program is designed to promote energy efficiency and be a green building, which is part of conservation. As mention above “energy conservation are efforts made to reduce the consumption of energy.”
U.S. Green Building Council (2013). LEED Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction (v4 ed.). U.S. Green Building Council. p. 318-466. ISBN 1932444181.
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For the physical concepts, see conservation of energy and energy efficiency.
Energy conservation is a process used to reduce the quantity of energy that is used for different purposes. This practice may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national and 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, political and environmental sustainability. Industrial and commercial users may want to increase efficiency and thus maximize profit.
On a larger scale, energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. In general, energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita. 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 method to prevent climate change. Energy conservation makes it easier to replace non-renewable resources with renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages.
Energy efficiency trends in the United States[change | change source]
The U.S. is currently the largest consumer of energy, although at current levels of growth, it is possible that in the future China could become the leading energy consumer. The U.S. Department of Energy categorizes national energy use in four broad sectors: transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial.
Energy usage in the transportation and residential sectors (about half of U.S. energy consumption) is largely controlled by individual domestic consumers. Commercial and industrial energy usage are controlled by businesses. National energy policy has a significant effect on energy usage across all four sectors.
Transportation sector[change | change source]
The transportation sector includes all vehicles used for personal or freight transportation. Of the energy used in this sector, approximately 65% is consumed by gasoline-powered vehicles, primarily personally owned. Diesel-powered transport (trains, merchant ships, heavy trucks, etc.) consumes about 20%, and air traffic consumes most of the remaining 15%.
The oil supply crises of the 1970s spurred the creation, in 1975, of the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, which required auto manufacturers to meet progressively higher fleet fuel economy targets. The next decade saw dramatic improvements in fuel economy, mostly the result of reductions in vehicle size and weight. These gains eroded somewhat after 1990 due to the growing popularity of sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans, which fall under the more lenient "light truck" CAFE standard.
In addition to the CAFE program, the U.S. government has tried to encourage better vehicle efficiency through tax policy. Since 2002, taxpayers have been eligible for income tax credits for gas/electric hybrid vehicles. A "gas-guzzler" tax has been assessed on manufacturers since 1978 for cars with exceptionally poor fuel economy. While this tax remains in effect, it currently generates very little revenue as overall fuel economy has improved.
Another focus in gasoline conservation is reducing the number of miles driven. An estimated 40% of American automobile use is associated with daily commuting. Many urban areas offer subsidizedpublic transportation to reduce commuting traffic, and encourage carpooling by providing designated high-occupancy vehicle lanes and lower tolls for cars with multiple riders.
In recent years telecommuting has also become a viable alternative to commuting for some jobs, but as of 2003 only 3.5% of workers were telecommuters. Ironically, hundreds of thousands of American and European workers have been replaced by workers in Asia who telecommute from thousands of miles away.
A vehicle's gas mileage normally decreases rapidly at speeds above 55 miles per hour. A car or truck moving at 55 miles an hour can get about 15 percent better fuel economy than the same car going 65 mph. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as a rule of thumb, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is similar to paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas (at $3.00 per gallon).
[change | change source]
The residential sector refers to all private residences, including single-family homes, apartments, manufactured homes and dormitories. Energy use in this sector varies significantly across the country, due to regional climate differences and different regulation. On average, about half of the energy used in the U.S. homes is expended on space conditioning (i.e. heating and cooling).
The efficiency of furnaces and air conditioners has increased steadily since the energy crises of the 1970s. The 1987 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act authorized the Department of Energy to set minimum efficiency standards for space conditioning equipment and other appliances each year, based on what is "technologically feasible and economically justified".
Despite technological improvements, many American lifestyle changes have put higher demands on heating and cooling resources. The average size of homes built in the United States has increased significantly, from 1500 ft² in 1970 to 2300 ft² in 2005. The single-person household has become more common, as has central air conditioning: 23% of households had central air conditioning in 1978, that figure rose to 55% by 2001.
As a cheaper alternative to the purchase of a new furnace or air conditioner, most public utilities encourage smaller changes the consumer can make to lessen space conditioning usage. Consumers have also been asked to adopt a wider indoor temperature range (e.g. 65 °F in the winter, 80 °F in the summer).
Home energy consumption averages:[change | change source]
- space conditioning, 44%
- water heating, 13%
- lighting, 12%
- refrigeration, 8%
- home electronics, 6%
- laundry appliances, 5%
- kitchen appliances, 4%
- other uses, 8%
Energy usage in some homes may vary widely from these averages. In most residences no single appliance dominates, and any conservation efforts must be directed to numerous areas in order to achieve substantial energy savings. However, Ground Source Heat Pump systems are the more energy efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available (Environmental Protection Agency), and can achieve reductions in energy consumptions of up to 70%.
Best building practices[change | change source]
Current best practices in building design and construction result in homes that are much more energy conserving than average new homes. See Passive house, Superinsulation, Self-sufficient homes, Zero_energy_building, Earthship, Straw-bale construction, MIT Design Advisor, Energy Conservation Code for Indian Commercial Buildings.
Smart ways to construct homes such that minimal resources are used to cooling and heating the house in summer and winter respectively can significantly reduce energy costs!
Commercial sector[change | change source]
The commercial sector consists of retail stores, offices (business and government), restaurants, schools and other workplaces. Energy in this sector has the same basic end uses as the residential sector, in slightly different proportions. Space conditioning is again the single biggest consumption area, but it represents only about 30% of the energy use of commercial buildings. Lighting, at 25%, plays a much larger role than it does in the residential sector. Lighting is also generally the most wasteful component of commercial use. A number of case studies indicate that more efficient lighting and elimination of over-illumination can reduce lighting energy by approximately fifty percent in many commercial buildings.
Commercial buildings can greatly increase energy efficiency by thoughtful design, with today's building stock being very poor examples of the potential of systematic (not expensive) energy efficient design (Steffy, 1997). Commercial buildings often have professional management, allowing centralized control and coordination of energy conservation efforts.
Solar heat loading through standard window designs usually leads to high demand for air conditioning in summer months. An example of building design overcoming this excessive heat loading is the Dakin Building in Brisbane, California, where fenestration was designed to achieve an angle with respect to sun incidence to allow maximum reflection of solar heat; this design also assisted in reducing interior over-illumination to enhance worker efficiency and comfort.
Industrial sector[change | change source]
The industrial sector represents all production and processing of goods, including manufacturing, construction, farming, water management andmining. Increasing costs have forced energy-intensive industries to make substantial efficiency improvements in the past 30 years. For example, the energy used to produce steel and paper products has been cut 40% in that time frame, while petroleum/aluminum refining and cement production have reduced their usage by about 25%. These reductions are largely the result of recycling waste material and the use of cogeneration equipment for electricity and heating.
The energy required for delivery and treatment of fresh water often constitutes a significant percentage of a region's electricity and natural gas usage (an estimated 20% of California's total energy use is water-related.) In light of this, some local governments have worked toward a more integrated approach to energy and water conservation efforts.
Unlike the other sectors, total energy use in the industrial sector has declined in the last decade. While this is partly due to conservation efforts, it's also a reflection of the growing trend for U.S. companies to move manufacturing operations offshore.
The usage 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. 
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- ↑US Dept. of Energy, "Annual Energy Report" (July 2006), Energy Flow diagram
- ↑US Dept. of Energy, "Annual Energy Outlook" (February 2006), Table A2
- ↑US Dept. of Energy, "Buildings Energy Data Book" (August 2005), sec. 1.2.3
- ↑US Dept. of Energy, "Buildings Energy Data Book" (August 2005), sec. 1.3.3
- ↑California Energy Commission, "California's Water-Energy Relationship" (November 2005), p.8
- ↑Best Buy Optimas Award Winner for 2007
- Scott Davis, Dana K. Mirick, Richard G. Stevens (2001). "Night Shift Work, Light at Night, and Risk of Breast Cancer". Journal of the National Cancer Institute93 (20): 1557-1562. http://jncicancerspectrum.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/full/jnci;93/20/1557?ijkey=e1472aefe9398c2c26bf8515391f5940acc05495.
- Bain, A., “The Hindenburg Disaster: A Compelling Theory of Probable Cause and Effect,” Procs. NatL Hydr. Assn. 8th Ann. Hydrogen Meeting, Alexandria, Va., March 11-13, pp 125-128 (1997)
- 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 
Other websites[change | change source]
- Resources for homes
- Government and international websites