What does it mean to conserve energy and be energy efficient? The two concepts are different but very much related. To conserve energy means to reduce the amount of it used through your behavior. To be energy efficient is to use a technological solution to be more economical with the resource used. An example of energy conservation would be unplugging your laptop while it’s not being used; or even choosing to use a more efficient light bulb, such as a LED one, to replace your old incandescent bulb. The effects of both are the same. Less energy used. Here are the reasons why that matters.
It benefits the environment
The main benefit of being smarter about our energy use is saving natural resources and reducing pollution in our towns, cities, and countries. The environment is one of the top reasons to be energy efficient. We consume a huge amount of natural resources in our everyday lives. For transportation, we put gas in our cars, for cooking we also use gas or electric power, and to heat and cool our homes we use even more energy. To take one developed country as an example, the U.S., in particular, uses up a quarter of the world’s energy resources.
Our use of fossil fuels such as oil increases every day. These fuels are not replaceable or renewable, so when they run out, we won’t have any more left. Instead of using these natural resources, we can substitute them with cleaner energy sources like solar energy.
A solar panel can generate just as much electricity to meet our needs. We can also get our fuel from natural sources, such as biodiesel made from soybeans. Another area where energy conservation and efficiency works is in reducing pollution. The pollution that fossil fuels releases into our air can be dangerous on a local and global scale. A whopping $5 billion in health costs can be traced to premature births that emissions cause.
It saves you and your country money
If you total up how much your household spends on energy in a year, you’d probably be shocked. You can reduce the amount you spend by making simple changes. Things, like buying appliances that are energy efficient, or making adjustments to your household’s insulation, can all add up to lots of money saved. Look for the Energy Star sticker on household items like refrigerators and washing machines.
Savings for your country on both the local and national level can also add up with energy improvements. It can create jobs, leading to more people employed in building and environmental projects. Manufacturers can benefit from new innovations as well, which contributes to the economy. New areas of manufacturing, such as lighting products that are more efficient, are good business opportunities. If for example, they start manufacturing LED bulbs, they will need more people to work and more science and technology experts will be employed.