We have all seen it before; it is a big selling point for appliances, vehicles, and even as a means to power our homes. I am talking of course about energy efficiency.
What does it mean when a product is advertised as energy efficient? Is it little more than a clever marketing ploy? In this article, we’ll delve deeper into what energy efficiency is and why it is so much more than just a cheap way to sell a product or appliance.
What is Energy Efficiency?
When a product is energy efficient, it simply means that it can do the exact same task at the exact same efficiency level – with less energy – as its non-energy efficient competitor. A prime example of this would be energy efficient vehicles. Some engines are built to drive hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas, while a sports-car might only get a few dozen miles out of a full tank of gas. One vehicle consumes more energy at a faster rate than the other vehicle which performs essentially the same function, without wasting as much energy.
This careful use of energy will undoubtedly translate to savings of money for the customer serviced as well. But, in addition to the monetary savings to be had from exploring a more energy efficient lifestyle, it is worth noting that running the world in a more energy efficient manner would have an incredibly positive impact on the environment as well.
How Energy Efficiency Helps the Environment
Choosing energy efficient products will not only save you money, but it can help the environment as well. In fact, saving money is a big way that energy efficient products help protect the environment too, so the concept is worth exploring.
Saving money by buying energy efficient items is a very undervalued environmental safeguard. It is a safeguard because, if every product that we use is energy efficient, it will reduce the world’s energy waste. What does this mean? Less drilling for oil and other natural resources, which means less potential environmental hazards.
More importantly, it will help developing countries, who sometimes go to war over who will profit from selling natural resources like oil, to stop from being exploited by richer nations and the highest bidders. It will have a cyclical effect that will benefit everyone on the planet. There is a literal environmental impact as well when it comes to running things in an energy efficient manner, an impact that can have tremendous consequences for the environment.
The literal environmental impact that energy efficiency can have is staggering. Think about it, when things like power-plants, eighteen-wheelers, and jetliners create unnecessary fuel-waste in our environment, the results can be devastating. For example, a nuclear power plant, Fukushima, in Japan, faced multiple nuclear meltdowns, and explosions, before leaking radioactive waste into the ocean.
Five years later, at this very moment, it is still leaking. Per this piece by the NY Times, the Japanese government thinks a full cleanup of the site could take upwards of 40 years. Until the site is contained, it will most likely continue to leak radioactive waste into our oceans, the effects of which scientists do not yet know the extent of. It seems only time will tell what those effects may be, especially as radiation levels continue to rise.
This example, along with many more than can be cited, are all the reason one needs to see why energy efficiency is important for the environment.
Disasters like this can easily be avoided if we take a more efficient approach to how we manage our energy infrastructure. Alternative, more efficient energy sources are only going to become more utilized and more accessible as we progress further into the future. It is up to us to realize that utilizing energy efficiency is key in terms of how we approach interacting with Mother Earth.