Energy conservation and energy efficiency may seem like they are the same thing. When it comes to saving money by reducing energy usage they serve very different purposes.

Energy conservation includes actions you can take that result in using less energy. For example, turning off a light in a room reduces the use of electricity immediately. Another example from HVAC is setting a thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer or lower in the winter to reduce the amount of time your system is on.

Energy efficiency, on the other hand, uses technology to use less energy while doing the same thing. A simple example of this is replacing an incandescent light bulb with an LED bulb. When the LED bulb is on, you are getting the same amount of light (if it is sized to match the old bulb) while using less electricity. An HVAC example is buying a higher efficient unit.

How are these concepts used in building a more efficient building? Well, these two terms represent the bottom two sections of the energy efficiency triangle. At the bottom of the triangle are improvements that have low capital cost and usually deal with a building’s “culture.” The next layer of the triangle looks at equipment replacements.  These measures will usually have a capital investment but calculations can be done to determine the payback period. The peak of the pyramid is where you find renewable options where you can begin to generate your own electricity. When making recommendations on how to save money by saving energy, you simply start at the bottom and work your way up!

At Forward Engineers, we seek to not only be a design and consulting firm but to also educate our clients about engineering technology. While doing so, we inevitably refresh our own knowledge and sometimes even learn something ourselves. If you are seeking to work with an engineering firm that is client-centered and strives to provides services that are on time, on budget and exceed expectations, please contact us. We would love to work with you on your next project!