Around the element14 offices, we've been chatting a lot lately about energy efficiency and this has prompted us to begin collecting our thoughts on the subject. As always, an important part of this process is gaining your opinions on the matter to clear up some of the ambiguity surrounding what energy efficiency actually means to us all. Ultimately, this'll help guide the direction of new content, campaigns or programs we'll be initiating here on the Community that are focused on the subject.
So, What Do We Mean by "Energy Efficiency"?
The two words aren't difficult to decipher, so the phrase itself is pretty self-explanatory. So any ambiguity around energy efficiency, therefore, isn't its definition so much as uncovering its clear differentiation from similar subjects. Primarily sustainable energy, and renewable energy, but also topics like power management and energy harvesting.
These are all closely related, but they're in no way the same thing. I did have a long and (obviously) highly entertaining and insightful blog post written out here, when I realised that a Venn diagram would be... well, more efficient.
What do you think? Do you agree with it?
I felt it would be equally useful to really drill down into the concept of energy efficiency, and try and give it something of a short, precise manifesto. A simple doctrine that we can use here at element14 as an easy and, yes, efficient measuring stick to hold up against a project, an idea, a campaign, a solution or a problem and instantly be able to tell if it falls within the exciting dominion of energy efficiency.
This is a starting point, and I'd like your input and assistance in refining the following treatise on energy efficiency (please put your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom).
Energy efficiency is the practice of reducing power requirements while retaining the same function, service or operation.
Although it's closely related to, and is likely to play a part in the following practices, energy efficiency should not be confused with:
- The conservation of energy, as this also includes the reduction, refinement or elimination of the function or service that's being powered.
- The sustainability of an energy source, as this does not necessarily impact the reduction of energy required by the function or service.
- The management or delivery of energy, as the primary purpose of this practice is indifferent to the efficient use of the supplied power.
Energy efficiency should be approached as a solution when one or more of the following, primary benefits are sought:
- Reduction in the financial costs, work and effort of providing a function's or service's operation.
- Sustaining a function's or service's ongoing operation in situations where limited power is available.
- Easing the strain on power generation and reducing the harmful or costly results of energy production.
Example: Automatically (or manually) turning a light off is not energy efficiency; this is energy conservation as you also eliminate the service.
Replacing an incandescent light bulb with a low energy LED lamp is energy efficient, as it retains the same level of service (the luminance), but requires less power to provide it.
Your thoughts, refinements and feedback below, please!