Energy Efficiency: Balancing Cost And Output

Methods and techniques that reduce the energy level required to produce the same level of service from the energy. The term energy efficiency means achieving more results from the same effort. Sometimes, efficiency can be translated into dollars and cents. It is measurable in terms of watts of visible light, or units of heat or degrees or cooling required.

Energy production has taken the path of attempting to produce more energy from the same components, as evidenced by nuclear power plants. This concept is the opposite of efficiency. Efficiency in energy usage studies how to get more benefit from existing energy sources.

Any entity that uses energy, whether it is an automobile, light bulb or huge manufacturing complex can be a target for reducing the amount of energy that is required to operate the entity. Installing skylights instead of additional light fixtures is efficiency at work. Making automobiles that get more miles per gallon is another way to make better use of energy. Trapping the heat from manufacturing processes and using it for building heat is another example of being energy efficient.

Efficient use of available energy helps to address the problem of dwindling resources and sky rocketing costs. New oil fields may be found beneath the earth’s crust, but they are still a finite energy source. By creating a more efficient use for oil, the reserves will last longer.

Since the 1970s, more effort has been expended in making building codes more energy conscious. Individual efforts are helpful but are less certain to create efficiency in the uses of energy. Studies have found that up to 75 percent of the energy used in the United States today could be eliminated through simple measures that are not costly or burdensome.

A three-fold process for increasing energy efficiency places efficiency first, use of renewable resources second and new fossil power sources in third place. The benefits are not only in non renewable resource protection, but in the cost per unit of electrical power produced and delivered. Ultimately, efficiency in both cost and service should be the goal of a technologically advanced and energy conscious society.

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