Why Energy Efficiency?

Last Updated:
Fri, 2013-05-10 14:43
Last Commented:
Fri, 2012-08-10 02:10
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The introduction of energy efficient practices and standards has greatly promoted a burgeoning energy future that consists of energy and environmental conservation. Energy efficiency has allowed individuals, businesses, and governments to maximize both monetary savings and the utilization of alternative energy sources. As energy efficiency continues to increase in scope and importance, it will be necessary to understand its significance. 

Here are several reasons why energy efficiency is important:

Energy Efficiency Saves Money

On Average, an American household spends $5,500/year on energy, but engaging in energy efficient practices can significantly reduce this amount by several hundreds of dollars. How?

  • Light Bulb Replacement: Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs such as CFLs or LEDs can save 30-80% on your energy bill, leading to a yearly savings of $50 to $100+.
  • Appliances: Purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances saves an estimated 30% on electricity bills in comparison to standard appliances.
  • Energy Consciousness: Being energy conscious in your home, such as turning off the lights when they are not in use, washing clothes in cold water, and turning off your HVAC system when not at home.

Energy Efficiency is Beneficial to the Environment

As more Americans use less energy through energy efficiency, natural resource dependency will decrease in conjunction with a decline in pollution.

  • Saving Resources: In the United States, energy-efficient technologies and policies have directly resulted in a 56% reduction in energy usage, which has helped decrease dependency on natural resources. With greater emphasis on energy efficiency, the U.S. can readily utilize less energy over a longer period of time, in order to limit the usage of energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and oil.
  • Pollution Control: The consumption of energy in an automobile can significantly produce emissions that damage air quality and the environment. As evidenced by car manufacturers, energy efficiency is now becoming a standard on new makes and models with the continued push for alternative fuel options such as electricity. In addition, power plants and manufacturing plants can produce outputs that significantly affect air quality and the environment. Curbing harmful emissions through energy efficient practices will decrease overall pollution, and therefore, help preserve environmental quality.

Energy Efficiency Improves Economic Standing

Energy efficiency not only promotes home energy savings, but also allows businesses and city, state, and federal governments to save a significant amount of money.

  • Savings: Due to energy efficient policies and procedures, the government saves an estimated $500 billion a year in energy costs, thereby reducing unnecessary spending.
  • Job Creation: The demand for energy efficiency standards has culminated in the creation of green jobs nationwide. According to data from 2010, energy efficiency jobs numbered over 830,000, with figures for 2011 and 2012 likely increasing in scale.
  • Innovation: Energy efficient policies can ultimately lead to the development of innovative products, as evidenced by the array of new lighting products this year that feature energy efficient standard light bulbs that are 25% more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. As more companies engage in energy efficient practices, innovative products will result in not only savings for the manufacturer, but also the consumer.

Energy Efficiency Increases National Security

Given U.S. dependence on natural resources such as oil, decreasing the energy demand through energy efficiency safeguards, the country can ensure energy security, and thus, national security.

  • Energy Independence: By utilizing alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, the U.S. can reduce its dependency on foreign oil resources and prevent economic, political, and social complications from an energy crisis.
  • Defense Programs: With the military improving energy efficiency through equipment, practices, and buildings, the budget can be invested more directly into defense programs.
  • Troop Safety: One of the biggest problems for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan involves attacks on fuel supplies. In 2011, there were 1,100 attacks on fuel convoys, highlighting the dangerous conditions of refueling equipment and supplies. Through the use of more energy-efficient sources such as electric and hybrid vehicles, or energy-efficient convoys, there will be fewer attacks on troops as there is a decreased need for fuel convoys.

As evidenced above, energy efficiency benefits a multitude of different areas. Given the growth of renewable energy sources, green building, and commercial and residential home energy retrofits, energy efficiency has systematically impacted the future of energy consumption for the better.

By Peter J. Bock

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