Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Efficient energy , sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. Installing fluorescent lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared with using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights use one-third the energy of incandescent lights and may last 6 to 10 times longer. Improvements in energy efficiency are most often achieved by adopting a more efficient technology or production process. [2]

There are various motivations to improve energy efficiency. Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in a financial cost saving to consumers if the energy savings offset any additional costs of implementing an energy efficient technology. Reducing energy use is also seen as a solution to the problem of reducing emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the world's energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases. [3]

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy. [4] In many countries energy efficiency is also seen to have a national security benefit because it can be used to reduce the level of energy imports from foreign countries and may slow down the rate at which domestic energy resources are depleted.

Further information: Domestic_energy_consumption Energy efficiency has proved to be a cost-effective strategy for building economies without necessarily increasing energy consumption. For example, the state of California began implementing energy-efficiency measures in the mid-1970s, including building code and appliance standards with strict efficiency requirements. During the following years, California's energy consumption has remained approximately flat on a per capita basis while national U.S. consumption doubled. [5] As part of its strategy, California implemented a "loading order" for new energy resources that puts energy efficiency first, renewable electricity supplies second, and new fossil-fired power plants last. [6]

Lovins' Rocky Mountain Institute points out that in industrial settings, "there are abundant opportunities to save 70% to 90% of the energy and cost for lighting, fan, and pump systems; 50% for electric motors; and 60% in areas such as heating, cooling, office equipment, and appliances." [citation needed] In general, up to 75% of the electricity used in the U.S. today could be saved with efficiency measures that cost less than the electricity itself. The same holds true for home-owners, leaky ducts have remained an invisible energy culprit for years. In fact, researchers at the US Department of Energy and their consortium, Residential Energy Efficient Distribution Systems (REEDS) have found that duct efficiency may be as low as 50-70%. The US Department of Energy has stated that there is potential for energy saving in the magnitude of 90 Billion kWh by increasing home energy efficiency. [7]

Other studies have emphasized this. A report published in 2006 by the McKinsey Global Institute, asserted that "there are sufficient economically viable opportunities for energy-productivity improvements that could keep global energy-demand growth at less than 1 percent per annum"—less than half of the 2.2 percent average growth anticipated through 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario. Energy productivity, which measures the output and quality of goods and services per unit of energy input, can come from either reducing the amount of energy required to produce something, or from increasing the quantity or quality of goods and services from the same amount of energy.

The Vienna Climate Change Talks 2007 Report, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), clearly shows "that energy efficiency can achieve real emission reductions at low cost." [8]

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