What Exactly is Energy Efficiency?
“Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task” according to the ESSI (Environmental and Energy Studies Institute). Basically, energy efficiency refers to a method of reducing energy consumption by using less energy to attain the same amount of useful output.
So How Can We Contribute to Energy Efficiency?
There are many simple steps we can do to support energy efficiency. Here are just a few ways to save energy. Use daylight hours for tasks that require more lighting, turn off lights and electrical devices when we’re not using them. Buy a smart thermostat, use public transportation when possible. Replace your old light bulbs with LED light bulbs. Replace old appliances with ENERGY STAR® rated new ones. Insulate and seal your home, so that you don’t lose heating and cooling to unconditioned areas of your home. Find out how energy your home is wasting by getting an energy assessment of your home. In addition to the environmental benefits, these actions will also lead to economic savings on your utility bills.
One of the easiest ways to evaluate how much energy your home is using, is to get a Home Energy Assessment. William Doyle, owner and CEO of Allied Experts, a Cherry Hill, NJ based company, has been working with the New Jersey Clean Energy Program for over 10 years and has helped over 6000 New Jersey homeowners go through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program. “The Home Performance program offers generous rebates and financing to incentivize homeowners to insulate their homes and upgrade their HVAC equipment. This effort is being instituted to help achieve New Jersey’s goal of using 100% clean energy by the year 2050” Doyle stated.
These rebates and incentives also offset the cost of updating your HVAC equipment and insulating and sealing their homes. This effort is being instituted to help with New Jersey’s plan to take 1 out of every 5 homes off the NJ energy grid.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you could reduce your energy use, and by extension your utility bills, by 25-30% by implementing energy efficient appliances and projects in your home. According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, an attic insulation renovation earns a 107.7% return on investment on average when you sell your house.
Efficient energy use has been a rising trend in the United States due to increasing energy costs and the environmental problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions. This green energy trend is evident in the products and appliances for sale to consumers, many of which have become more energy-efficient from year to year.
Common Misconceptions About Energy Efficiency
Energy conservation – the concept of reducing energy consumption through the minimization of activities that consume energy – is often confused with energy efficiency. The main difference between the two concepts is how much you have to alter your behavior.
Contrary to what many believe, energy efficiency does not have to mean compromising comfort and quality of life by decreasing the use of energy we use in our daily lives. Energy efficiency doesn’t require you to change your habits.
Energy conservation calls for a certain degree of sacrifice, such as using the clothes dryer less often or turning down the heat in the winter. Energy efficiency, on the other hand, maintains the same amount or quality of output while using less energy. Instead of turning down the heat, you can install an energy-efficient furnace to keep your house at a certain temperature while consuming less energy than you would with a conventional one. Energy efficiency does not inconvenience you with daily restrictions, it requires no change in behavior on your part to reduce your utility bills.
Another misconception is that energy efficient options are not worth buying because they are more expensive than their conventional alternatives. Energy efficient options, for appliances or home heating and cooling upgrades, often come with a higher price tag, however energy efficiency should be considered an investment that accumulates savings over time. In New Jersey the Home Performance with Energy Star and NJ Clean Energy Program offers rebates and incentives to offset these costs. Your utility bill savings generated over the lifetime of an energy efficient upgrade should also help offset the total purchase price. In addition, a long-term energy efficient installment can add value to your home upon resale.
The other upside to energy efficiency is the job growth. According to USEER, (US Energy and Employment Report) energy efficiency employment is defined as “employment [that] covers both the production and installation of energy-saving products and the provision of services that reduce end-use energy consumption” These jobs are on the uprise and will continue to be on the uprise as states and the federal government institutes implement more energy efficient guidelines. The benefits of energy efficiency are significant, including product innovation, billions of dollars in energy savings for consumers, and significant reductions in carbon emissions.
How you can get involved in helping with New Jersey’s goal to save energy and protect our state from excessive energy consumption
Almost every town in New Jersey has a Green Team. Reach out your township’s Green Team and see how you can help. Energy Efficiency is not a sacrifice in your everyday life, it is a contribution to your future and the future of your family!
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