From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
Energy conservation refers to reducing energy 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 financial capital, environmental quality, national security, and personal financial security. It is at the top of the sustainable energy hierarchy.
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 increases dramatically. 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. The European Commission is funding large-scale research projects to learn about success factors for effective energy conservation programmes.
Energy conservation in the United Kingdom 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.
Responsibility for energy conservation falls between three Government departments although is led by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) is still responsible for energy standards in buildings, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) retains a residual interest in energy insofar as it leads to emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas. The Department for Transport retains many responsibilities for energy conservation in transport. At an operational level, there are two main non-departmental governmental bodies ("quangoes") - the Energy Saving Trust, working mainly in the domestic sector with some interest in transport, and the Carbon Trust, working with industry and innovative energy technologies. In addition there are many independent NGOs working in the sector such as the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol or the National Energy Foundation in Milton Keynes, and directly helping consumers make informed choices on energy efficiency sust-it
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 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. Ahmadinejad's administration launched the 'Tergeted Subsidies' innitiative primarily to reduce the energy intensity of the nation'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 Global 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 in June 18, 2007.
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.
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.
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: How to reduce home energy usage|