Understanding Energy Efficiency as a Resource

When utilities and other organizations talk about energy efficiency as a resource, they are describing efficiency as an energy resource that can yield energy and demand savings that can transfer electricity generation from nuclear power, coal, wind power, natural gas, and other supply-side resources. Putting money in energy efficiency and the outcome resource advantages are factored into utility energy resource decision-making regarding investing in operating existing systems and new resources.

Defining efficiency as a resource and keeping it in mind when deciding makes it important because of the apparent resource cost advantage of energy efficiency. Through energy efficiency programs, customers will get greater energy savings, it can also lessen the need to install, replace, or upgrade transmission and distribution tools.

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American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) encourages people to use energy efficiency as a resource when deciding in utility and regulatory. The organization has been doing some research on how utilities and regulators incorporate efficiency into their activities.

Efficiency can likewise improve system reliability and enable utilities to lower or manage the need for their systems – in some instances offsetting the need to add new peak generation capacity.

Lowering fossil fuel utilization has several additional advantages that include a decrease in the environmental effects and lessens air pollution associated with the production of fossil fuel and use. These benefits can be considered by decision makers when deciding on utility system resource.

Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency as a Resource

As energy efficiency continues to gain popularity as an important resource for the economic and social development of all economies, knowing its real value is important.

The multiple benefits approach to energy efficiency policy aims to expand the viewpoint of energy efficiency beyond the conventional measures of reduced energy demand and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by knowing its effects on different spheres.

The term “multiple benefits” objective is to focus on the truth that is most of the time overlooked: putting money in energy efficiency can provide lots of benefits to different investors. Whether by reducing energy demand and its costs or facilitating the achievement of other goals, the present study acknowledges the great potential of energy efficiency.

The multiple benefits of energy efficiency as a resource are important for both IEA member and non-member countries. The 5 areas that greatly benefited from energy efficiency are as follows:

• Macroeconomic development
• Industrial productivity
• Energy delivery
• Public budgets
• Health and well-being

Evaluating Energy Efficiency Programs

Low-cost energy efficiency programs have been ongoing successfully in some nations since the late 1980s and have proven great energy savings. These programs have succeeded in various contexts like in regulated and unregulated markets, investor-owned, gas and electric utilities and cooperative utilities.

Knowing the results, benefits, and lessons learned from an energy efficiency program is one way of understanding it. The result can be used in improving and enhancing future programs and identifying the importance and potential of a portfolio of energy efficiency programs in a unified resource planning process. The evaluation process will help determine the performance of administrators and contractors responsible for implementing efficiency programs. The process is also conducted to estimate energy savings attributable to a program in a way that is justifiable in utility regulatory proceedings.

Benefits of Having Energy Efficiency Programs

All through the day, people rely on energy to light and heat their homes, fuel their vehicles, and power their computers and machinery at work. Their lives and the entire economies also rely on using energy. Over time, there has been a significant increase in the use of energy. The size of an average household is increasing, and people use a bigger number of appliances, electronics, and lights in their homes nowadays, which is why energy efficiency programs are developed to use less energy that offers the same level or even better service.

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Two Qualities of Increasing Energy Efficiency

1. Behavior – to reduce energy, people should change their behavior. No-cost and simple actions like turning off the lights and TVs when not in use, not idling vehicles, and powering off office machines after work can ultimately save energy.
2. Using Technologies – there are technologies that help reduce energy needs, including installing high-efficiency windows or insulating a basement to lessen energy costs while having better comfort; designing a building that meets or exceeds the highest standards in terms of energy efficiency in order to lessen operating expenses; or purchasing only appliances and electronics that have ENERGY STAR certification from the government.

People in all parts of the society need to start realizing the benefits of energy efficiency programs. These are important tools in the battle against climate change, and they have bigger benefits that go beyond climate change.

• Reducing Household Electric Bills

Energy efficiency is the cheapest, easiest, and most efficient technique for households to use energy in the most sensible way. It can save money on both transportation costs and household expenses.

• Enhancing Business Competitiveness

Energy expenses affect the bottom line of a business. Organizations that control their use of energy can enjoy lower electricity, transportation, and heating costs.

• Increasing Comfort

Electric bills could make up a high percentage of the expenses of a household. Because of this, some families are having trouble paying to heat their households at a comfortable level. Poorly heated households could make residents more vulnerable to a variety of health conditions. Energy efficiency provides a possibility to reduce energy costs and at the same time, enhancing comfort.

A model energy efficiency home controls the heat, moisture, and air flow. Air sealing, insulation, and Energy Star-rated windows function to maintain dry and warm air inside the home. Motorized ventilation systems (heat recovery ventilators, fans) spread the internal air and drive out undesirable moisture and other pollutants. High-efficiency boilers or furnaces with the proper sizes use less energy to heat the households or buildings. Also, if the air flow is properly controlled, it minimizes the possibility of cold and hot spots in every room.

• Decreasing Local Air Pollutants

Wood, oil, and other sources can contribute to local air pollutants. Energy efficiency can lessen the amount of toxins coming from them. These are not connected to greenhouse gas emissions. They include thin particulate substance in the air and other chemicals like sulfur dioxide that can be harmful to health.

Now that you know energy efficiency programs offer a range of benefits, it is time for you to take action.

Upgrade Your Home with Energy Efficient LED Lighting

A few decades ago, LED lighting was unheard of. When it came to lighting fixtures, people were restricted to choosing between incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Today, there is a wide range of lighting choices that include CFL lights, halogen lights, and LED lights. But before tackling how to upgrade your home to LED lighting, it is best to know what LED lighting is and its benefits.

LED Lighting and Its Benefits

LED stands for light-emitting diode. Without going into the technicalities, LED light is simply a semiconductor device that emits light by converting energy to light. The main benefit of LED lighting is that it uses significantly less electricity than any traditional lighting in the market. Compared to incandescent lighting, LED light uses around 85% less electricity. Also, LED light bulbs last the longest. Incandescent light bulbs last around 1,000 hours whereas LED ones can last around 30,000 to 50,000 hours — that’s even longer than the lifespan of CFL, halogen, and fluorescent lighting.

The main disadvantage of LED light bulbs is the price. LED light is often compared to hybrid cars: They are cheaper to use and maintain, but their upfront cost is more expensive. So, expect to pay more when buying LED light bulbs — but also expect a lower monthly electric bill.

How to Upgrade Your Home to LED Lighting

If you wish to reduce your electricity consumption (and monthly electric bill as well), replacing incandescent light bulb fixtures with LED light is a good move. However, it is sometimes best to contract a professional to do it because the process of upgrading your home to LED lighting requires a complex understanding of your home’s wiring system.

Here are a few tips on how to upgrade your home to LED lighting:

Ready the materials to be used.

When converting your home to LED lighting, a contractor may use ladders, high chairs, or tables and lifts to reach light bulb fixtures on the ceiling and other high and hard-to-reach areas. Also, prepare wrenches and different sizes of screwdrivers and pliers. These may be used to modify the light fixtures so the conversion kit can fit properly.

Prepare your budget.

Converting your home to LED light fixtures can fetch around US$100 to US$300, depending on the number of conversions made, the scope of the job, and the complexity of the wiring system. Some homes that are older than ten years may require further wiring checkup.

Be patient.

Conversion to LED light does not take a long time. Usually, it takes around 5 to 10 minutes for each light fixture if no serious modifications are made. However, if the wiring system has to be checked and rewired so the conversion kits can be installed properly, then installation can take several hours. Preferably, allot at least 6 hours of your time when the contractor comes. Better yet, have your house assessed first before the actual conversion. Be honest about the history of your house and your personal preferences when it comes to lighting.

Things to Consider When Buying LED Light bulbs

Wattage

Most people are accustomed to measuring the brightness of lightbulbs using watts, especially if they are used to incandescent lights. But with LED lights, checking out the wattage can be misleading. An 8- to 12-watt LED lightbulb can be as bright as a 60-watt incandescent lightbulb. Although LED light bulbs are more expensive despite their low wattage (not brightness), they are more environment- and budget-friendly in the long run.

Lumens

In contrast to wattage, lumens (lm) is the real measurement of brightness. A 6- to 9-watt LED light bulb and a 40-watt incandescent light bulb both possess 450 lumens of light.

Colors and Undertones

LED lightbulbs are capable of reproducing a wide range of colors in both warm and cool undertones. When buying LED lights, you may encounter labels such as warm white, bright white, and soft white. Warm white and soft white have yellow undertones, close to what incandescent light bulbs emit; whereas bright white has a cooler white that mimics outdoor lighting or natural daylight.

Dimmers

The dimmer your room has for incandescent lights will not work with LED lights. You should either find LED light bulbs that are compatible with your old dimmer or install a new dimmer that will be compatible with your new LED light bulbs. However, unlike incandescent light bulbs, there is no direct relationship between the brightness of the LED light bulb and the energy used. The only advantage of dimmers with LED light is control over light intensity and brightness.