The interesting thing about sustainability is that it really covers a huge number of topics. Take energy efficiency, for example: this post is going out on Energy Efficiency Day because being efficient is the same as being sustainable. Well, it’s actually a step better than that. Efficiency, as we’ve touched on before, is sustainability in action.
So, what IS energy conservation?
Energy efficiency is often confused with another sustainable term: energy conservation. For instance, you might think turning the lights OFF when you leave a room is being efficient, but in reality, that’s energy conservation. In short, efficiency comes from action, conservation comes from inaction.
When you’re efficient, you make the most of the resources at hand to do a task. In the case of energy, it’s generating the most light with the least amount of power (LED bulbs), or cleaning clothes with the least amount of water (HE washing machines). In business, being efficient might mean using a computer for an extra year or two before upgrading. And that’s where it best overlaps with sustainability.
As much as it has become a buzzword, sustainability is exactly what it sounds like it is: sustaining or persisting in some behavior. Sustainability is about prolonging or using our resources in a way that ensures they’re never exhausted. Ergo, the higher the efficiency, the more sustainable it will be.
But (and here’s where things get confusing) conservation is sustainable, too, because not using up a resource means it is more likely to last—or persist—into the future. And a big part of being sustainable is choosing to not do certain things. So, I guess you could say, sustainability is the behavior that encapsulates both efficiency and conservation… Ain’t semantics grand?
Now that we’ve cleared that up, on Energy Efficiency Day this year you can enjoy long showers efficiently with lo-flow shower heads, help your business conserve energy by turning off the lights, and live sustainably by using your electronic devices for several years before upgrading.
How do you do energy efficiency? Leave a comment on our Facebook page as we are always looking for more ways to be sustainable—whether by action or inaction. Either way, we’d love to hear what you have to say!
Image ©: Health Facilities Management