There are two important ways to look at wise energy consumption - efficiency and conservation.
Efficient energy use is a permanent action to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, installing LED lights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination.
Energy conservation is broader than energy efficiency as it includes active efforts and behavior changes to decrease energy consumption, in addition to using energy more efficiently. Energy conservation works by allowing people to adjust their behavior to use less energy. For example, someone may not always need the same amount of illumination in a room or by just getting in the habit of turning off lights in unoccupied rooms.
Improvements in energy efficiency are most often achieved by adopting a more efficient technology, equipment upgrades, or better production process. Modern energy-efficient appliances, such as ovens, stoves, dishwashers, etc., use significantly less energy than older appliances. Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in financial cost savings to consumers. Before you design a new home or remodel an existing one, consider investing in energy efficiency. Some of the sciences and innovations are addressed by the Department of Energy. For example, a home’s location and surroundings can play a key role in self-regulating its temperature and illumination. Trees, landscaping, and hills can also provide shade and block wind. In cooler climates, designing buildings with south-facing windows increases the amount of sun entering the building and reduces the need for heating. Take into account weather extremes and the length of the seasons when designing your energy-efficient home, and/or making upgrades as this will help you determine your focus and what heating/cooling systems are most advantageous and cost-effective.
Rebates and Incentives for Homes and Businesses
Improving your home’s energy efficiency can reduce your energy use and save natural resources. To help, there are many rebates and incentives to consider. For example, SDG&E and other service providers offer rebates for the purchase and installation of qualifying energy-efficient measures. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are spent. Customers can also earn cash rebates for every watt of solar energy installed on homes, businesses, farms, schools, and government and non-profit organizations.