Energy efficiency is using less energy to produce the same product. It makes products use energy at a more efficient rate and require less energy. Energy efficiency includes upgrading infrastructure and lighting systems. It is not as hard as changing the entire electrical grid.
Why It is Important
Before the switch to renewable energy happens, energy efficiency requires fewer fossil fuels to be burned. After the switch, energy efficiency can lower the price of electricity. This can raise global support for stopping climate change without them even necessarily knowing that they are fighting climate change. Why is this a good thing? Think of it this way. Someone doesn't believe in climate change. This person is a climate denier. But then they see that he/she can save money with more efficient energy. They upgrade their energy systems. Without knowing it, they are helping combat climate change. Therefore, even people who are climate deniers can help stop climate change without even knowing it.
How Energy Efficiency is Employed
Energy efficiency is employed in a variety of ways. LED lightbulbs are more energy efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. This is because they are designed better than incandescent bulbs, requiring less electricity for the same output.
Commercial buildings waste a lot of energy on heating and cooling because they are not well designed. During the winter, hot air leaks out and during the summer, cold air leaks out. In order to keep the building warm/cool, the owners have to use more energy because so much is leaking. In this case, energy efficiency can be employed in the form of insulation. If the building is better insulated, then less energy will be necessary to warm/cool the building because less air will escape. There are many places that insulation can be upgraded, but windows are a huge culprit.
Commercial buildings also require a lot of electricity for lighting. Most commercial buildings use standard incandescent lightbulbs. These lightbulbs are inefficient; 99% of the electricity they use is wasted as heat energy. Owners are forced to use more electricity for lighting. However, compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more efficient than incandescent lightbulbs. LEDs last 28.83 times longer an incandescent bulb and require 85.83% less electricity. CFLs last 8.3 times longer than an incandescent bulb and require 76.6% less energy. These lightbulbs, therefore, use less electricity and are more efficient.
Vehicles use a lot of energy. By improving the miles per gallon of fuel (mpg), less energy would have to be used. This is energy efficiency. In addition, electric cars have higher efficiency than standard cars. They can go for longer on a single charge. They use their energy more efficiently because of newer engineering.
The manufacturing sector is very energy-intensive. Manufacturers produce heat and operate machinery using a variety of energy types, ranging from conventional sources such as electricity and natural gas to non-conventional fuels including shredded tires and black liquor. Industrial energy use is responsible for almost 30 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change.
Many machines in manufacturing operations waste energy. Energy efficiency can be employed in a variety of ways in this case. Evaluating systems for wasted energy and misuse is key. From there, insulation to trap the energy for the operation and eliminate leaks can be increased. Doing this means less energy will be necessary to complete the operation. Secondly, systems should be designed for the operation. A machine has to work harder and takes more energy when it is not designed for what it is being used for. Specializations in machines will help make manufacturing operations more energy efficient.
There are also simple things manufacturers can do, such as turning off machines that are not in use (or automating that) and even replacing lightbulbs with LEDs. Job training should be improved so that employees know how to do these things.
While it is important to work on manufacturing processes and systems, otherwise known as energy efficiency principles, it is equally important to consider the relationships of these processes and how energy waste can be cut down there.