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Difference Between EE and Conservation

As shifting attitudes emphasize the importance of being mindful of our natural resources, energy efficiency and conservation have become an international movement. These terms seem to pop up everywhere and are often used interchangeably. However, while they both offer strategies to save energy, they do so in different ways. So what exactly is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation? And why does the difference matter?

Energy Efficiency vs. Conservation
The chances are you already participate in some energy efficiency (EE) and conservation practices. However, understanding the difference and learning how to apply each to your daily life can help you better manage your daily activities and maximize the energy efficiency of your home. Energy efficiency deals with technology, and conservation deals with behavior. So to make your home more energy efficient, you could purchase appliances that perform effectively while using the minimum energy resources possible. To conserve energy, you can change your daily habits to avoid using unnecessary energy. For example, turn off the lights when you leave a room. By creating a combined strategy, you can maximize your energy use and become a smarter energy consumer.


Energy Efficiency Labels
Appliances are one of the primary culprits when it comes to energy consumption in homes and businesses. Do your research when purchasing a refrigerator, washing machine, pool pump, or any other amenity. Energy efficiency labels are a helpful resource. Energy Star–a certification established by the U.S. Government to meet minimum standards–is the most common one on products available in this country and can provide customer assurance regarding energy efficiency. So look for the label before you buy! Something as simple as comparing the electrical power, commonly represented as the ‘wattage’ used by different products, means you can get the exact result while using less energy.

Smart Appliances
Smart devices create a more energy-efficient home by allowing you to easily monitor and customize their settings remotely from a central control system, such as a phone or computer. Make your energy use more efficient by putting your smart AC and lighting system on a schedule. For example, you can automatically turn off the AC and the lights during hours when no one is home and reduce your home's energy waste over time.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
LED lights offer high-quality lighting and are more efficient than their competitors. This is because they use significantly less energy in multiple ways. Incandescent or standard light bulbs lose 90% of their energy through heat. LEDs are much cooler, allowing them to avoid this energy loss. Their greater durability means they can last up to 25 times longer than a classic light bulb. According to the Department of Energy, LED bulbs can help save the average household around $225 in energy costs each year.
Home improvements
Weatherization is the process of protecting a building's interior integrity from the outside elements. Homeowners accomplish this through updated insulation, ventilation, sealing window and door air leaks, and moisture control. Making sure your home is up to date and sufficiently weatherized can save the average household $372 or more each year. The Department of Energy (DOE) even offers a Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for low-income families. This program aims to reduce their energy costs by improving the weatherization of their homes and assists approximately 35,000 homes each year.
Programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to set your home's temperature on a schedule. Doing this helps you use your power strategically. For example, avoid wasting energy by setting the thermostat to automatically turn off the AC in the summer during hours when the house is empty. According to the Department of Energy, you can save 10% yearly on heating and cooling if you adjust your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its usual temperature.

Smart power strips
Most of us leave our devices like chargers, coffee machines, and hair dryers plugged into outlets full time. However, just because we turn them off does not mean they stop using energy. This continued electricity use can add $200 to your energy bills yearly. Smart power strips combat this problem by automatically cutting off the power when a device is turned off or in standby mode.


Technology can be a fantastic tool. However, pairing energy-efficient devices with conservative habits can help bring your energy savings to a new level.
Take advantage of the weather
When the weather is nice, take advantage of the sun and the wind and save some electricity. If the weather is nice, consider turning off the AC and opening the windows to let in some fresh air. Additionally, hang your clothes out to dry on sunny days to avoid using the dryer.
Use your appliances strategically
Avoid using unnecessary energy when possible. An easy way to start is by simply building the habit of turning off the lights when you leave a room. However, you should also pay close attention to how and when you use the other appliances in your home. For example, hair dryers are very convenient when you are in a rush or styling your hair. But if you have the time and are not going out, consider air or towel drying. If you do happen to use a hairdryer or any other appliance, unplug it when you finish. Devices plugged into the wall continue to use energy even when turned off. These are energy vampires (energy vampire blog link) and account for 14% of the money we spend on electricity. Finally, get the most out of your washing machines by only washing full loads of laundry or dishes. In doing this, you will run the washing machines less often, consequently using less water over time.
Become an Efficient and Conserving Energy Consumer
Overall, you want to employ both energy efficiency and energy conservation strategies in your daily life when appropriate. Check your energy provider's website for utility programs and rebates. A home energy audit alone can get you started by demonstrating the amount of energy you use and providing suggestions to improve your home's efficiency. At the end of the day, energy efficiency and conservation is as simple as purchasing energy-efficient appliances when possible and changing your habits. So don't wait. Take control of your energy use today.

Posted: 1/5/2023 8:12:17 AM
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