First off my view is that energy conservation does not mean living an austere life. It just means eliminating the huge amount of waste in our daily lives, in our homes and in our workplaces. It can mean living well, staying warm, or cool and to some, most importantly, saving huge amounts of money. Money that can be used for other things such as spending on yourself, or your family and not giving it to the utility companies. To sum it up it means getting rid of discomfort, cutting fuel bills, and most importantly of all helping to create a sustainable world. Creating a better future for ourselves, our children and their children and the millions of species that we share our planet with. Let’s learn to be good ancestors.

Using energy efficiently is like giving yourself a raise, or winning the lottery. Don’t wait for it to happen, even if you cannot afford renewable energy devices costing thousands, start now, do it for yourself and reap the benefits starting now. You will save tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands over your lifetime.

Even if you are going to install renewable energy technologies at home, your first step should be to run an energy audit of your home and put in place energy conservation tactics. It will make the task of running your home from renewable energy easier and cheaper. Why spend $30,000 for a solar electric system, when a $2,000 investment means you only need to install a smaller, cheaper system costing $15,000?


Energy Frugality and Energy Efficiency

Energy conservation entails two separate but complementary strategies: frugality and efficiency. Frugality means using what we need and no more. Although waste is something that the Western world does very well, it’s a habit we have got to discard. Most of what needs to be done is to simple change our actions, or habits. Most are simple and painless and all offer quick rewards and sometimes amazing payback. Most people already know the choices, turning off lights, stereos, computers and televisions in unoccupied rooms and taking showers instead of baths to reduce hot water tank use.

The efficiency principle on the other hand is based on getting as much useful energy as possible from the available energy supply. Energy efficient light bulbs, compact fluorescent convert 25% of the energy flowing through them into light, whereas incandescent light bulbs only convert 5%. LED’s have the potential to be more efficient still. Another example is water efficient showerheads. These simple devices use 50% as much water as a standard showerhead. Less hot water means less energy use.

Combined, frugality and efficiency can result in huge savings, making them indispensable parts of any home, or office energy conservation strategy.

Think of the savings this efficiency will generate. Imagine you have a security light on your house, or garage wall with a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. Let’s imagine a worst case scenario were it is left on all day, every day for the whole year. Then suppose you replace that bulb with an energy-efficient LED light bulb. How much is that going to save you?

A 100 watt incandescent light bulb left on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year will operate for 8,760 hours each year. If you multiply the wattage of the bulb by the number of hours it operates you can see that the bulb consumes 876,000 watt hours of electricity. One thousand watt hours is a kilowatt hour and is the unit of measurement that most utility (power) companies use to charge you for electricity. So in this case, the bulb uses 876kilowatt hours (kwh) per year.

The LED light bulb you install uses 10% of the electricity of the incandescent bulb. By changing the bulb, your electricity use falls from 876 to 88 kwh per year. If you pay 12 cents per kwh (quite close to the world average) your annual bill for this single bulb will drop from €105.60 to €10.56, a saving of €95.04 per year.

An LED bulb to replace a 100W incandescent bulb costs only €29. So you would begin to make savings within 4 months and the LED bulb will last for 50,000 hours.

So the key benefits are:

  • 50,000 Hours
  • 10W LED instead of 100W Incandescent
  • 1 LED bulb lasts 50 times longer

Think about that fifty number because it ends up eating up not only your money, but your time as well. Fifty less trips to the shops, fifty less times you have to climb up a ladder, fifty less times you have to throw something away.

If you are interested, you can see a selection of electricity prices from around the world on this post.

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