What is energy efficiency?
An organisation that is energy efficient only uses as much energy as needed to serve its purposes. For example, an organisation using enough energy to create a safe, comfortable and productive working environment without wasting money or increasing carbon emissions on unnecessary energy usage is energy efficient. Unnecessary usage would include heating a building that is not sufficiently insulated, lighting unoccupied areas and leaving unused appliances turned on.
Being energy efficient reduces carbon emissions by a combination of the following methods:
looking for opportunities to decrease energy usage by reducing the amount of time utilities and appliances are turned on
energy management techniques that ensure all building users are aware of their energy usage and know where their responsibilities lie in for controlling usage
increasing the thermal efficiency of buildings so heating and cooling efforts are not undermined
reducing energy usage by using energy controls and more efficient appliances
considering whether renewable energy installations are appropriate for the building and its usage
Energy efficiency should be considered not only for the operational period of utilities and appliances in a building, but also regarding carbon emissions produced at the manufacturing and disposal stages. For example, if a building’s heating system is in working order then the carbon emissions generated by disposing of the old system and manufacturing and installing a new system would outweigh the benefits of installing a more energy efficient heating system. It is better to replace a product only when the original can no longer be used.