PhotoWhen people talk about energy conservation and energy efficiency, are they talking about the same thing? The two terms are frequently confused.

CALLAHAN: “Conservation means using less. It means conserving energy resources. Energy efficiency means doing more with less, meaning that you are using the energy in a more useful, less wasteful manner.”

That’s Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. She says that when you simply turn off a light bulb, you’re conserving energy. But when you replace an incandescent light bulb with a CFL or LED light bulb, you’re becoming more energy efficient.

You could say energy conservation is about behavior, and energy efficiency has to do with technology — but there’s more to it than that.

CALLAHAN: “A house full of LEDs, that’s great, you’re saving energy but if you leave every LED on in the house, twenty-four-seven, when you’re there or not, you’re wasting energy.”

So, it’s the combination of conservation and efficiency that creates the most energy savings. You can use energy efficient products and take simple steps to conserve energy, without sacrificing comfort. And that’s a win for you and the earth.

Reporting credits: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...