What is Energy Efficiency?
You may see the term ‘energy efficiency’ coming up a lot these days. From labels on appliances, to promotions through HAT Smart, it is a phrase that is becoming a lot more common - but what does it really mean?
Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same level of service. Something is considered more energy efficient if it lasts longer or works better than a traditional version of the same appliance, but uses the same amount of energy. It is also considered efficient if it delivers the same performance as the traditional version, but uses less energy.
The Difference between Efficiency and Conservation
People tend to use the terms 'energy efficiency' and 'energy conservation' interchangeably. However, there is an important difference between the two.
Energy efficiency means using technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. For example, a light emitting diode (LED) bulb is more efficient than a traditional incandescent bulb because it uses nearly 80% less energy to produce the same amount of light. However, energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. For instance, you can conserve energy by turning the lights off when leaving the room.
Energy Efficiency as a Resource
Energy efficiency does more than help you save money on your utility bills. Around the world, people are starting to see it in a new light. With multiple benefits, energy efficiency is being seen as one of the most valuable energy resources as it helps to ensure a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system for the future.
Efficiency can improve system reliability and allows utilities to reduce or manage the demand on their systems — in some cases offsetting the need to add new peak generation capacity. It is the one energy resource that every country possesses in abundance and is the quickest and least costly way of addressing energy security, environmental, and economic challenges.
"Energy efficiency is an important way for all Albertans to contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency is essentially a low-cost, underdeveloped energy resource."
Alberta's Climate Change Advisory Panel