Energy conservation means reducing the amount of energy that is used. Saving energy has become an increasingly important topic in recent years with the increase of fuel prices and the rising global warming because of carbon emissions.
Energy conservation can either be achieved by decreasing while at the same time achieving a similar outcome, or by reducing the use of energy services.
The benefits of energy consumption span many areas like basic human comfort, environmental value, financial capital, national security and even personal security.
Depending on the energy provider, energy conservation can have two faces. On the one hand, industrial and commercial suppliers would aim to increase energy efficiency to maximize profits. On the other hand, individuals or organizations would aim to reduce costs of energy consumption to ensure economic security.
Energy conservation can be done by the renewable sources of energy, such as wind, hydro, solar, geothermal, wave, and biomass energy sources.
Turning off unwanted lights, fans, and other electrical appliances when not in use, using florescent tubes instead of incandescent bulbs, avoiding “long life” bulbs (because they have 20% less efficiency), switching to compact florescent lamps (CFL), and dimmer switches that control lighting (especially used with incandescent bulbs) can greatly conserve energy indoors.
In offices and factories, there is a higher chance of energy wastage. People are cautioned to conserve energy through using office equipment as and when the need arises, only for work related purposes, disconnecting transformer plugs at the end of the day, shutting down computers, scanners, printers and copiers at the end of a working day is estimated to reduce energy consumption.
Other factors for consideration are the extra electricity consumed every time a refrigerator door is opened (and therefore not to unnecessarily open it), setting the temperature control to a medium level (when appropriate), allowing warm food to cool prior to putting in the refrigerator, and ensuring proper ventilation for hot air currents from the refrigerator will help conserve electricity at home.
These considerations bring us to the topic of energy recycling; the process of utilizing energy that would otherwise have gone a waste, by converting it to thermal energy or electricity.
Energy recycling is increasingly incorporated into the power schemes of large institutions like hospitals and universities, power plants, and other factories in order to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste heat recovery is a method of energy conservation that captures extra heat that would otherwise have been discharged from manufacturing plants, and converts it to electricity, steam or returns it as energy to the plan in the form of water, oil, air or glycol.
Waste heat recovery from air conditioning recovers heat recovered during warm summer months from chiller plants and stores them in Thermal banks in the ground. This energy is recycled and sent back through a heat pump to provide heating without having to rely on fossil fuels.
Cogeneration, or combined heat and power is a reliable and efficient method to generate electricity and heat energy from a single fuel source.
Energy conservation and energy recycling together ensure that the energy produced through renewable and non-renewable sources are used to their optimum capacity at all times.