Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0173-4.ch006
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Energy efficiency is affected through electrical appliances and buildings. In the first category manufacturers compete to produce energy efficient appliances. In the latter architects and engineers compete to build energy efficient homes, schools, shops, malls, etc. A third element is needed to affect energy efficiency. This is that the consumer must be aware of the issue and at the same time willing and motivated to participate in energy efficiency activities.
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Energy efficiency is the efficiency of using energy. We are interested in the broader sense of energy efficiency meaning how much output is produced by an end-use device when it consumes energy and how can we improve on this situation? In this context we are interested in doing more work for less energy. At home for example, when we talk about cooling, heating, or refrigeration we mean how best to achieve our objectives with the least consumption of energy?

The inverse of energy efficiency in called energy intensity. Increasing energy efficiency, or reducing energy intensity, in most cases, will reduce energy consumption and therefore, conserve energy. It often will reduce costs and save money.

The term energy efficiency is used to describe efforts to reduce the amount of energy required for leisure or to provide products and services. Some of the examples include efforts such as insulation, building materials, passive architecture, energy-saving light bulbs, more energy efficient appliances, and altering consumption habits. Energy efficiency also includes the design of efficient systems and controls. For example temperature control or process control are considered tools used in effecting energy efficiency. Moreover, efficient building designs and utilizing natural weather conditions are ways to use energy efficiently (McKinsey Global Energy and Materials, 2009).

The objectives of performing energy efficiency are as follows:

  • Reducing energy costs, which may result in a financial cost saving to consumers, utilities, and the national economy

  • Reducing environmental pollution

  • Rationalizing the use of energy so that resources can last longer

  • Increasing security of energy supply by slowing down the rate of depleting resources.

Energy efficiency efforts are based on convincing consumers to adopt energy efficiency measures. Therefore, awareness is needed to educate consumers about energy efficiency, available technologies, processes, and benefits. When consumers are convinced that there is a personal (or societal) need to use energy more rationally then energy efficiency programs succeed. Sometimes this convincing needs either an incentive (carrot) or enforcing (stick) or a combination of both. Once a reasonable level of awareness is reached consumers voluntarily accept and become part of energy efficiency efforts.

Energy efficiency is the way to go forward; therefore, countries are exerting all efforts to moving their citizens to be more energy efficient. One should realize the importance of energy efficiency as it can help prolong the useful life of existing resources, protect the earth and safeguard human beings. Thus energy efficiency has three main roles: 1) protecting the environment, 2) rationalizing the use of the different forms of energy, and 3) saving money.

The first role is achieved through institutionalizing energy efficiency tools and mechanisms. This in turn, is achieved through manufacturing and trading energy efficient products and hence cutting down on the amount of energy consumed, which implies less pollution into the environment. The change may be also brought about by making people behave differently when it comes to purchasing appliances, or how they use such appliances at homes and offices.

The second role is related to saving the different forms of energy. It is seen in the global scene of seeking alternative fuels that lead to energy efficiency. As there is an escalation of the prices of fossil fuels, due to an imbalance between supply and demand, energy efficiency is an effective tool to help save on fossil fuel usage. Eventually, people will move from being dependent on fossil fuels and switch to depending on alternative options.

Finally, saving money is the biggest contribution of energy efficiency. At the end of the day customers seek to reduce their energy bills which is consumed by vehicles, appliances, heating cooling, etc. As a result of energy efficiency measures customers will be using much less energy and hence save money. It should be emphasized, however, that energy efficiency requires some sacrifice on the side of customers. This is manifested by some self-imposed changes to their lifestyles and energy consumption patterns (Gottron, 2001).

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