What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy costs keep rising, but people still need the same things that take energy — washing machines, electric lights, heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.

There are two ways to tackle the problem: energy conservation and energy efficiency.
Conservation and efficiency: What’s the difference?
With energy conservation, you sweat in the summer and put on an extra sweater (or down parka) in the winter, because you do without in order to cut energy bills.

With energy efficiency, you use less energy to get the same service — buying a new air conditioner that uses less energy to maintain the same amount of cooling units, for example, or better window glass to improve heat retention.
Why energy saving is important
In 2013, by some estimates, the failure to implement the best available energy technologies wasted $80 billion in the value of electricity. But globally, efficient energy could be a $310 billion market, according to the International Energy Agency.

Global efforts could not only have an impact on the world’s climate, they could lower energy bills, help keep the air clean, increase U.S. business competitiveness, and create energy security for the world’s populations.

Part of the problem with becoming more energy efficient rests with funding. Money may not be available for people to upgrade homes or buildings to give them the same service for less energy, and alternative energy sources may not be available. The market for such funding is growing, too. In fact, the IEA estimates this market could be as much as $120 billion every year.

Learn more about using energy efficiently with an energy audit.