Energy conservation

Energy conservation is the effort made to reduce the consumption of energy by using less of an energy service. This can be achieved either by using energy more efficiently (using less energy for a constant service) or by reducing the amount of service used (for example, by driving less). Energy conservation is a part of the concept of eco-sufficiency. Energy conservation reduces the need for energy services and can result in increased environmental quality, national security, personal financial security and higher savings. It is at the top of the sustainable energy hierarchy. It also lowers energy costs by preventing future resource depletion.

Energy can be conserved by reducing wastage and losses, improving efficiency through technological upgrades and improved operation and maintenance.

Causes and methodological approaches
There are financial incentives to save energy; In addition, there may be constraints or restrictions. It is possible that an energy source

(temporarily or permanently) is available in less than the desired amount
due to insufficient production capacities
due to insufficient capacity of a grid connection or a pipeline
due to insufficient power plant capacity
due to delivery problems (eg due to political tensions, wars or weather conditions)

causes unwanted (avoidable or unavoidable) side effects.
Health and environmental damage such as emissions, noise, greenhouse gases or radioactivity (eg forest damage, global warming)
In market economies, prices, including energy prices, rise as long as demand exceeds supply (see market equilibrium). If there is less price elasticity of demand or low price elasticity of supply, small differences between supply and demand can lead to large price fluctuations.

The desire and the opportunity to reduce high (today’s and / or future expected) energy costs, causes the adoption of energy saving measures. An eco-tax can increase the incentive, while at the same time relieving the frugal and ecologically active consumers through the financial compensation paid back by the state (Ökobonus, Green Check).

In 1973, the so-called “first oil crisis” worldwide was a reason to consider and implement energy savings: the price of oil rose sharply, and at times there were supply bottlenecks.
Shortly before that, in 1972, the study published by the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, had made it clear that there were limits to the economic growth of industrialized societies, including: a. limited amounts of fossil fuels and other resources and resources.
In the 1970s, the established environmental policy and the environmental awareness increased considerably.

Methodologically, the following approaches to saving a particular form of energy are available:

Reduction of energy demand by waiving certain benefits. Often the absence of small additional functions offers a large energy saving potential. (Example: reduce building heating in unused rooms)
Increasing the efficiency improves the utilization of the energy used, an example being the increase of the efficiency by reducing the dissipation. Increased efficiency can often significantly reduce consumption (examples: thermal insulation, energy-saving lamp). Depending on the underlying conditions, increasing efficiency also leads to rebound effects that can significantly reduce or even eliminate the savings effect.
Increasing efficiency also includes the use of previously unused energy components (such as heat recovery or additional use of waste heat, eg through condensing boilers)
Intelligent control of the operating parameters of machines, devices and other systems today make an important contribution to energy saving. For example, the efficiency of internal combustion engines depends on many different operating conditions. Control measures to increase the efficiency of internal combustion engines began many years ago with the simple adjustment of the ignition timing, Today, very fast microprocessors evaluate a multitude of measurement parameters, which then dynamically control the various components of motors in such a way that the highest efficiency of the motor can be achieved for every currently measured combination of measured values. This also includes the above waiver of certain benefits that are not needed, such as idle work.
The use of alternative forms of energy is not energy conservation in the true sense. By doing so, however, the originally used form of energy can be reduced or completely replaced. Energy savings are only achieved if the use of the new form of energy is more efficient than the replacement (keyword: energy balance). Examples of alternative energy use are: daylight instead of electric lighting, muscle power instead of engine, natural gas instead of coal. The higher efficiency can also lie in the provision of energy: Natural gas heating instead of electric heating saves energy not in the house, but in the power generation in a power plant.

Energy tax
Some countries employ energy or carbon taxes to motivate energy users to reduce their consumption. Carbon taxes can force consumption to shift to nuclear power and other energy sources that carry different sets of environmental side effects and limitations. On the other hand, taxes on all energy consumption can reduce energy use across the board while reducing a broader array of environmental consequences arising from energy production. The state of California employs a tiered energy tax whereby every consumer receives a baseline energy allowance that carries a low tax. As usage increases above that baseline, the tax increases drastically. Such programs aim to protect poorer households while creating a larger tax burden for high energy consumers.

Building design
One of the primary ways to improve energy conservation in buildings is to perform an energy audit. An energy audit is an inspection and analysis of energy use and flows for energy conservation in a building, process or system with an eye toward reducing energy input without negatively affecting output. This is normally accomplished by trained professionals and can be part of some of the national programs discussed above. Recent development of smartphone apps enables homeowners to complete relatively sophisticated energy audits themselves.

Building technologies and smart meters can allow energy users, both commercial and residential, to visualize the impact their energy use can have in their workplace or homes. Advanced real-time energy metering can help people save energy by their actions.

In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it does not involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.

The key to designing a passive solar building is to best take advantage of the local climate. Elements to be considered include window placement and glazing type, thermal insulation, thermal mass, and shading. Passive solar design techniques can be applied most easily to new buildings, but existing buildings can be retrofitted.

Energy Savings in the Building Sector
There are different types of ecological construction or rehabilitation work for a building and promoting energy saving. These are generally used in low energy buildings. They are distinguished in two types: the work to save energy, and work using renewable energy. In France they could soon be facilitated by a project of Carte vital of the building.

Insulation work
The majority of heat losses in a home are the result of poor insulation. On average, 70% of the energy used in a home is used for heating. It is therefore more than important to have quality insulation.

Insulation of the roof
The roof of a building is at the origin of the most important heat losses, they rise on average at 30%. Like the insulation of the walls, the insulation of the roof can be envisaged by the interior notably by the insulation of the roof spaces. In the case where the attic is congested, insulation from the outside is recommended.

Wall insulation
Walls are one of the main causes of heat loss in a building. For example, it is estimated that 25% of heat loss is caused by poor wall insulation. Two types of wall insulation are practiced: insulation from the inside and from the outside. Inner insulation is an insulation technique used to insulate a building inside the building itself, while the insulation from the outside consists of protecting the building’s facades. In both cases, the insulation requires the use of highly insulating materials such as wood fiber, hemp wool, cellulose wadding…

Floor insulation
Although 7% of a building’s heat loss is through the floor, the insulation of the building must be taken into consideration. Depending on how a building is arranged, several types of floor insulation are achievable. However, care must be taken that the rooms located under this floor remain frost-free, otherwise a heating system must be installed.

Mechanical ventilation
Ventilation (VMC) and insulation are two very complementary processes. Quality ventilation is necessary or even legislatively mandatory for well insulated buildings. Renewing the air is important for the building to protect it from moisture, as well as for people within the building to evacuate odors and breathe better. A dual flow VMC can recover some of the energy to heat the incoming air. This system improves energy efficiency and comfort (less cold air intake).

Double or triple glazed window
Window heat losses are in the order of 15%. It is possible to install a double window or even triple glazing and a glazing to limit these losses. Window frames also need to be well insulated, as a day or lack of insulation between the frame and masonry creates a thermal bridge that can negate the benefits of improving glazing quality.

Renewable energy installations
These installations make it possible to improve the energy balance:

Photovoltaic panels
The photovoltaic panel (not to be confused with the solar thermal panel), allows to produce electricity thanks to the energy provided by the sun. In France, all of the electricity generated by the panels is bought directly by EDF at a specific price, which provides an income to its owner allowing the investment to be amortized after a few years.

Solar water heater
The solar water heater uses the heat generated by the sun and can heat a water tank with solar collectors with which water circulates. These solar collectors can also feed the heating of a heated floor.

Thermodynamic water heater
The thermodynamic water heater consists of a hot water tank (DHW) connected to a heat pump c.

Wind turbine
Although wind turbines are regularly used for large-scale production, the popularity of the small-scale wind turbine is growing. It can be installed on a roof or in a garden. Its dimensions are obviously smaller compared to those used by electricity producers.
The thermal regulations RT 2012 applicable to new buildings in France since 1st January 2013 and the successor to the RT 2005 requires the building sector to reduce average energy consumption of around 50kWhEP / m2 SRT / year (modulated according to climate zone and type of building). BEPOS or Positive Energy Building is progressively developing. It is a building that produces more energy than it consumes.

Ecological heating
Heating modes affect savings:

Heat pump
The three elements of air, soil and water contain a lot of energy in the form of “calories”. The principle of the heat pump is to draw the calories contained in these elements in order to diffuse hot or cold air in a building or to heat sanitary water. There are 3 types of pumps: the air / air heat pump, the air / water heat pump, and the water / water heat pump. The heat pump reduces the energy consumption of a building by around 70%.

Ecological boilers
There are three types of ecological boilers: gas condensing boiler, wood pellet boiler, low temperature boiler. These three types of boilers use respectively gas or wood. However, the optimization of their efficiency allows them to be less greedy in energy.

Ecological construction work
Some works can improve the result:

Vegetalized roof
The laying of plants on the roof of a building with several effects. Not only does it provide the most natural roof insulation, but it also improves the watertightness of the building. For the environment, it absorbs carbon dioxide. Several types of green roofs are feasible: intensive green roofs, semi-intensive, and extensive.

Rainwater recovery
The purpose of this system is to store rainwater in tanks, treat it, then use it for sanitary purposes or for garden use.

Savings in the industry sector
Reduction of consumption of existing industrial installations
For systems that preheat air with fumes, on distillation ovens, investments can be made profitable in less than two years. If the refinery is in an area, where there are other refineries among the confreres (Rotterdam, Singapore), we can also consider the exploitation of energy synergies between colleagues.

In utility systems (steam / electricity, oil-gas network, cooling water, compressed air), as well as in treatment units (choice of catalysts, normative objective of energy consumption, process simulation, pilot furnaces, help with driving units…) substantial savings are achievable.

Often, energy efficiency is supported by a wireless sensor network, as shown by the example of Japan.

Update in the industry
Industrial equipment has often been designed with a barrel of crude oil at $ 20. In 2007, the price of a barrel is over $ 90, and in May 2008 is over $ 137. The place of energy in industry has changed dramatically; the design of industrial equipment must be adapted and optimized.

For existing industrial equipment, a careful analysis must identify the “sources” that is to say the flows that can recover the untapped energy and the opposite identify the “wells” that is to say flows that reinject the energy recovered from sources instead of primary energies generally fossil.
Once the sources and wells have been identified, the task is to find the couplings that will make it possible to revalue the energy of the sources on the wells, this with a short-term return on investment (ROI).

Savings in the computer sector
IT professionals have realized that data centers are consuming more and more energy, mostly electricity. Since 1992, the US government has launched an energy program called Energy Star to stem the growth of computer power consumption. Computer performance is increasingly evaluated in terms of energy efficiency, based on performance criteria per watt. For example, the “Green500 List” ranks the supercomputers of the Top500 under these criteria, in FLOPS per Watt.

In the field of electronic devices, particularly computer and telecommunications, it is important to take into account the energy consumption during the complete life cycle of the equipment (manufacture, use, end of life). It takes about 1,000 kWh to make a desktop computer that consumes less than 250 per year.

In the United States, suburban infrastructure evolved during an age of relatively easy access to fossil fuels, which has led to transportation-dependent systems of living. Zoning reforms that allow greater urban density as well as designs for walking and bicycling can greatly reduce energy consumed for transportation. The use of telecommuting by major corporations is a significant opportunity to conserve energy, as many Americans now work in service jobs that enable them to work from home instead of commuting to work each day.

Home automation includes all the automated means to optimize the energy management of your building (Lighting and heating adapted and programmed according to your desires, extinguishing devices on standby). A home automation system can also take care of building security.
The design of buildings according to the principles of bioclimatic architecture and passive housing allows major energy savings, a necessary precondition for the use of renewable energies.

Case of the real estate (residential, tertiary) and the stakes of the old habitat
According to the IEA (2011), only with the available technologies, especially in renewable energies real estate can decrease by 24% its CO2 emissionsbefore 2050, and commercial or inhabited buildings and public buildings could thus save 710 million toe (tons of oil equivalent).

The old housing and the most energy-consuming building are very present: the city of 2050 was already built at 70% in 2005, with more than 25 million individual dwellings already built which will constitute more than half of the 35 million main residences in 2050. The inter-war constructions are the most profitable to isolate from the outside with 1/3 of the houses, they generate 45% of the domestic consumption of heating according to the study “Habitat Factor”).

In 2010, in France, the tax credit encourages insulation from the outside (150 € / m2 for insulation from the outside, and 100 € / m 2from the inside). A thermal rehabilitation of housing costs in France in 2010 from € 12,700 to € 24,200 (excluding renovation of energy and ventilation equipment).

It is according to the IDRI the only way to reach the Factor, in addition to a big effort on the decreases of energy consumption in the other sectors. Difficulties arise with the numerous protection perimeters in the old cities, which prohibit or strongly inhibit insulation from the outside.

To encourage residents to consume less heat, Europe has made the use of a heating cost distributor mandatory in some Member States.

Consumer products
Consumers are often poorly informed of the savings of energy efficient products. A prominent example of this is the energy savings that can be made by replacing an incandescent light bulb with a more modern alternative. When purchasing light bulbs, many consumers opt for cheap incandescent bulbs, failing to take into account their higher energy costs and lower lifespans when compared to modern compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. Although these energy-efficient alternatives have a higher upfront cost, their long lifespan and low energy use can save consumers a considerable amount of money. The price of LED bulbs has also been steadily decreasing in the past five years due to improvements in semiconductor technology. Many LED bulbs on the market qualify for utility rebates that further reduce the price of purchase to the consumer. Estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy state that widespread adoption of LED lighting over the next 20 years could result in about $265 billion worth of savings in United States energy costs.

The research one must put into conserving energy is often too time consuming and costly for the average consumer when there are cheaper products and technology available using today’s fossil fuels. Some governments and NGOs are attempting to reduce this complexity with ecolabels that make differences in energy efficiency easy to research while shopping.

To provide the kind of information and support people need to invest money, time and effort in energy conservation, it is important to understand and link to people’s topical concerns. For instance, some retailers argue that bright lighting stimulates purchasing. However, health studies have demonstrated that headache, stress, blood pressure, fatigue and worker error all generally increase with the common over-illumination present in many workplace and retail settings. It has been shown that natural daylighting increases productivity levels of workers, while reducing energy consumption.

In warm climates where air conditioning is used, any household device that gives off heat will result in a larger load on the cooling system. Items such as stoves, dish washers, clothes dryers, hot water and incandescent lighting all add heat to the home. Low-power or insulated versions of these devices give off less heat for the air conditioning to remove. The air conditioning system can also improve in efficiency by using a heat sink that is cooler than the standard air heat exchanger, such as geothermal or water.

In cold climates, heating air and water is a major demand on household energy use. Significant energy reductions are possible by using different technologies. Heat pumps are a more efficient alternative to electrical resistance heaters for warming air or water. A variety of efficient clothes dryers are available, and the clothes lines requires no energy- only time. Natural-gas condensing boilers and hot-air furnaces increase efficiency over standard hot-flue models. New construction implementing heat exchangers can capture heat from waste water or exhaust air in bathrooms, laundry and kitchens.

In both warm and cold climate extremes, airtight thermal insulated construction is the largest factor determining the efficiency of a home. Insulation is added to minimize the flow of heat to or from the home, but can be labor-intensive to retrofit to an existing home.


Economic energy saving incentives
The economically feasible savings potential for total consumption (electricity, heating, transport) through efficiency improvements in households, production facilities and office buildings is often surprisingly high, 20% to 30% are quite common. The Wuppertal Institute even starts from 40%. In many cases – especially in private households – savings are also economically feasible, about 50% of total consumption and much higher values (even well over 90% depending on the previous state) in some areas, such as heating. National and international climate protection goals (Kyoto Protocol), on the other hand, assume significantly lower potential, and practical implementation often falls far short of these more modest guidelines; sometimes it can be considered a success, if the consumption at least does not rise.

The issue of energy consumption and energy saving is widely acknowledged as an issue on the social agenda. However, what is often lacking, especially in the commercial context, is the information about what exact consumptions and costs a given action entails. In addition, many alternatives only known disadvantages that they had in their early days, but are now often solved. It is therefore difficult to act energy efficient. In the context of this information deficit, the term energy transparency has become established in recent years.

The EU has made a binding stipulation that the fleet consumption of newly sold vehicles must gradually decrease from initially 160 grams of CO 2 / km to 120 grams of CO 2 / km (see ECCP European Climate Change Program) (120 grams / km corresponds to approximately 5 liters of gasoline / 100 km or 4.5 liters of diesel / 100 km). Therefore, all car manufacturers are working hard to sell their customers smaller or more economical models.

Cause – based cost distribution
The intensive consumption of fossil primary energy has far-reaching effects on the environment. The costs for the elimination of the environmental damage, or for the compensation of those affected are so far only attributed to the polluters. Initial political demands to avoid environmental impact had led to technical improvements (catalytic converter, flue gas desulphurisation, environmental regulations), but not to energy savings.

In many cases, the polluter pays principle does not apply. In commercial buildings, building owners, users and operators are often completely separate actors connected by more or less complex contracts. The actors who could implement energy saving measures in these constellations often do not benefit from it. On the other hand, the actors that determine consumption (such as employees) are rarely the payers (employers). Even in the private sector, many costs, such as water or heating, are simply distributed to users based on square meters. In such situations, the incentive to save energy is low.

For rental apartments in German law is the problem that the tenant pays the heating costs and the landlord in direct billing with the energy providers not even the current consumption values learns promptly, while structural measures are up to the landlord.

In an ideal market, the price of a product includes all the costs associated with the production of that product. The exploitation of natural resources and in particular the consumption of fossil primary energy incur costs that are not included in the business calculations and therefore can not be recognized by the price. These include health risks, long-term costs of destroyed biotopes, accidents such as oil spills and meltdowns, global costs due to climate changeand much more. These costs are borne by the affected companies as a whole. As a result, the market economy signal, which emanates from high energy consumption, weakens sharply. The energy price does not reflect all costs, energy is too cheap. Conversely, there is also utility that does not go into energy prices, which would make energy too expensive. To get energy prices that reflect the real cost, recommend most economists, these positive and negative externalities through appropriate taxation by incentive taxes “internalize” them.

Environmental Certificates
The expenses incurred by society for environmental and health damage resulting from the consumption of energy are so-called external costs, which are not taken into account by the issuers in their production. One example is the air pollution caused by lignite-fired power stations and the associated “free” use of the resource air.

In the context of environmental economics, one tries to internalize these external costs by monetarily assessing the physical resource consumption. This can be done through so-called environmental certificates or targeted taxes, such as the eco-tax in the Federal Republic of Germany. Environmental certificates entitle to the use of a previously scarce resource, for example for the emission of exhaust gases at a certain height. However, they only fulfill their purpose optimally if the cost of the certificate corresponds to the monetary value of resource consumption, so that the polluter takes into account the costs of environmental and health damage in production as well as any other factor of production. Profit maximum trading The model leads to the use of cheaper production processes, which are reflected in energy saving measures or the use of alternative energies.

Technical energy saving incentives

Mobile devices
Many mobile devices use batteries or accumulators as energy storage. These have a limited size and mass and therefore a limited capacity. Energy savings can therefore increase the service life of these devices. A popular example of such devices are mobile phones. With them, it has been possible in recent years, despite increased functionality to reduce the overall size. In addition to the improved accumulators, this is mainly due to the more efficient use of stored energy. For example, the transmission power is adapted to local conditions and the lighting of the displays has become more efficient. Other portable devices also achieve lower energy consumptionMicroelectronics significantly longer operating times.

Motor vehicles
In motor vehicles, especially cars, there are various motivations for saving energy:

Lower operating costs
A smaller tank leaves more room for the interior and trunk.
An economical vehicle has a higher range or a lower fuel mass, and a smaller tank lowers the vehicle weight and can thus lead to further fuel savings.
A lower overall weight (regardless of which measure) allows for better performance with the same engine (keyword: downsizing).
In recent years, the efficiency of internal combustion engines has been significantly improved. The weight of the vehicles rose for a long time, mainly in favor of safety (see Euro NCAP). Only vehicles that are marketed as particularly fuel-efficient or particularly sporty, have a weight that allows the lightweight construction of motor vehicles can be seen.

Source from Wikipedia