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Energy conservation refers to reducing energy consumption through using less of an energy service. Energy conservation differs from efficient energy use, which refers to using less energy for a constant service. For example, driving less is an example of energy conservation. Driving the same amount with a higher mileage vehicle is an example of energy efficiency. Energy conservation and efficiency are both energy reduction techniques.
Even though energy conservation reduces energy services, it 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.
Some countries employ energy or carbon taxes to motivate energy users to reduce their consumption. As detailed in the book, Green Illusions, 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 relativily 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. 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. 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.
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. 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) www.pcra.org 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.
In Iran the Iranian Fuel Conservation Company is responsible for promoting energy efficiency and conservation for fossil fuels. The administration decreased the fuel subsidies primarily to reduce the effect of rapidly intensifying energy consumption on Iran's economy.
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 June 18, 2007.
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.
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.
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 Pacific. 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 program that encourages setting air conditioners at 28-degrees Celsius and allowing employees to dress casually in the summer. More in Pacific Energy Summit.
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.
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 Africa’s #1 rapper Jude ‘MI’ Abaga (campaign ambassador)() participated in the Governor’s first ever Google+ Hangout on YouTube 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 by conserving energy. To get Lagosians started on energy conservation, Solar Lamps and Phillips Energy-saving bulbs were given out at each experience center. Pictures from the experience centers: (part of Lagos state government energy initiatives)
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).
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