Did you ever wonder? Conservation versus energy efficiency

We’ve all been guilty of using these terms interchangeably, but they’re two very different things.

Key Points

  • Energy efficiency and conservation are two different things.
  • Conservation means using less, efficiency means doing more with less.
  • We need both to save energy. 

If you made a New Year’s resolution to learn this year, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout the next couple months, we’ll pop back to our school days and learn about energy basics. We’ll look at energy terms, clarify what’s going on in Congress and even go to class with some four-year-olds trying to figure out why rubbing a balloon on their head makes the balloon stick to the wall. 

Today’s topic: Conservation versus energy efficiency.

We’ve all been guilty of using these terms interchangeably, but they’re two very different things.

Here are the basic definitions, according to the Webster Dictionary:

“Conservation: the careful use of natural resources (such as trees, oil, etc.) to prevent them from being lost or wasted.”

“Efficiency: the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy : the quality or degree of being efficient.”

I like how Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy, explains it:

Conservation means using less. It means conserving energy resources. Energy efficiency means doing more with less, meaning that you are using the energy in a more useful, less wasteful manner.

When you simply turn off a light bulb, you’re conserving energy. But when you replace an incandescent light bulb with a CFL or LED light bulb, you’re becoming more energy efficient.

A house full of LEDs, that’s great, you’re saving energy. But if you leave every LED on in the house, twenty-four-seven, when you’re there or not, you’re wasting energy.

In the end, we need both. It’s good to use the energy-efficient versions of things like appliances, light bulbs and windows, but use them wisely.  

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: conservation, efficiency, energy term

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