Energy Conservation vs Energy Efficiency
When talking about and understanding how to reduce our energy use it is important to understand the difference between conservation and efficiency. These words are often tossed into political speeches, product marketing and educational lectures, yet their meanings are often confused.
Energy conservation: When you switch off a power strip or turn off the lights when you leave the room. In other words conserving is simply using less energy to conserve resources.
Energy efficiency: Replacing incandescent lights with LEDs or installing a new high efficiency furnace. Efficiency is defined as doing more (or the same) with less. This often surrounds new technologies.
For the greatest energy savings, conservation and efficiency need to work together. An example of this, which is very pertinent in these cold Minnesota winters, is heat. A new high efficiency furnace is awesome, until you turn the heat up to 72. Significant energy savings happen when you compliment your efficient furnace with turning your heat down a few degrees and program your thermostat to turn down at night.
Take a look at both conservation and efficiency actions you can do to reduce your energy use at the Minnesota Energy Challenge.