Energy efficiency is an effective (rational) use of energy resources. This means using less energy to provide the same level of efficiency for household or industrial processes, achieving cost-effective efficiency in the use of fuel and energetic resources at the current level of technology development, and compliance with environment protection requirements. This branch of knowledge is at the intersection of engineering, economics, law, and sociology.
Unlike energy conservation, mostly aimed at reducing energy consumption, energy efficiency is a rational (better) energy consumption.
For the population, it means a significant reduction in utility costs, for the country, it means conserving the resources, increasing productivity and competitiveness, protecting the environment by limiting the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, for energy companies, it means reducing the fuel costs and eliminating unnecessary spending.
Energy saving and energy efficient devices are, in particular, intelligent systems of heat, ventilatio and electric power supply, operating only when the person is in the room and saving energy in his absence. Wireless sensor networks can be used to monitor the efficient use of energy.
Energy-efficient technology can be used in lighting (such as plasma lamps built using sulphur) and heating (infrared heating, heat-insulating materials).
Since the 1970’s. many countries have implemented policies and programs to improve energy efficiency. Today, the industrial sector accounts for nearly 40% of annual world consumption of primary energy sources and about the same share of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. ISO 50001 is an internationally adopted standard, which, among others, regulates energy efficiency.
In the EU total energy consumption, the share of industry is 28.8%, the share of transport is 31%, and that of services is 47%. Taking into account the fact that about 1/3 the amount of energy is wasted on the housing sector, the European Union directive on energy performance of buildings defining mandatory building energy efficiency standards was adopted in 2002. These standards are constantly revised upwards, stimulating the development of new technology.
The fastest growing segment is lighting with 22% of all projects associated with the replacement of the old lighting equipment to the energy efficient and taking lighting management measures. There is also new technology use in boiler industry, improving boiler operational efficiency and introducing insulation materials and photovoltaic systems, affecting the level of effective energy consumption.
In developed countries about half of all the energy is consumed to build and operate, when in developing countries it is about one-third. This is due to the large number of household appliances in the developed countries.
Alternative sources of energy in household may include heat pumps, solar collectors and wind generators.
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