What is energy efficiency?

The complex and turbulent situation we are currently experiencing in the energy market, the continuous increases in electricity prices and the depletion of conventional fossil fuels, such as gas, oil and coal, are making us rethink the current energy consumption model. 

For this reason, energy efficiency has become the priority for governments, especially with a view to decarbonization by 2050; but not everyone is clear about what this concept consists of. 

In this article we tell you everything you need to know about energy efficiency. 

The concept of energy efficiency

This concept refers to the ability to obtain the best results in any activity using the least possible amount of energy resources. Thanks to such a concept, we can reduce the consumption of any type of energy and the possible environmental impact associated with it. This term is applied from the generation of such energy to its final consumption. 

Energy efficiency seeks to maintain the same performance of our activity, but incorporating a series of sustainable management models, reasonable habits and investments as well as technological innovation. 

In a country or territory having an adequate level of energy efficiency it is possible, for example, to increase the security that there will be sufficient energy supply for the entire population. In our home the concept also provides numerous benefits since, according to the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), it allows us both to reduce our electricity bill in a long term and to reduce the chance of a blackout – a situation that can lead to the breakdown of our electronic devices or other household appliances. 

This is the reason why energy efficiency has become a priority on the agendas of governments around the world, due to the limited nature of traditional energy sources, their ever-increasing prices and the dependence on the foreign markets, in addition to their significantly negative impact on the environment and the ecosystem. 

Many production companies and public administrations are currently implementing various measures and initiatives to promote renewable energy and sustainability, in such a way that they serve as a guide to energy savings and, therefore, contribute to making the planet more sustainable. One example is European Directive 2010/31/EU, which requires new houses to implement various measures to reduce energy consumption and make them more sustainable.

Other objectives related to energy efficiency set by The European Union for 2030, and included in The Green Pact, are: 

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990.
  • Achieving a 42% share of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydrogen. 
  • An overall improvement of 36% to 39% in energy efficiency.

How is energy efficiency calculated?

One of the main standards for measuring and calculating energy efficiency is ISO 50001, although it rivals in popularity with the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP). 

Estos, y otros sistemas, se encargan de estimar principalmente la eficiencia en el uso de la energía de acuerdo a la productividad, es decir, están creadas sobre todo para empresas, y en el caso de los hogares esto se calcula en base al óptimo funcionamiento de equipos e instalaciones comparados con un bajo consumo, lo que se traduce, finalmente, en un ahorro en el pago de las facturas de los proveedores de energía. 

These, and other systems, are mainly responsible for estimating the efficiency of energy consumption related to productivity, i.e. they are created mainly for companies, and in the case of households the calculation is based on the optimal operation of equipment and facilities compared to low consumption, which ultimately leads to savings on the bills from energy suppliers. 

This means, in order to find out whether a house is energy efficient, different indicators that measure energy consumption over a given period of time have to be taken into consideration. Energy efficiency is closely linked to energy intensity but in an inversely proportional way: the more energy intensity we use in our home, the less energy efficiency we are carrying out. 

The benefits of energy efficiency in houses 

If helping to improve the planet or lowering our electricity bill by up to 40% were not enough benefits, opting for an energy efficiency strategy in a house can provide families with a series of advantages, such as less noise in the rooms, thanks to the fact that windows can be closed and the need to use air conditioners can be reduced; better habitable conditions of the building, with less temperature fluctuations all year round; or enjoying cleaner cities, since there are buildings currently remaining the major sources of pollution. 

To make our home efficient it is necessary to implement a series of measures and routines that are within everyone’s reach in reality. One of them is to achieve a correct air conditioning thanks to the use of mechanical ventilation systems of double flow, which besides supposing a minor economic cost also contributes to our well-being and health, eliminating the stale air and introducing air from the outside, previously filtered. 

Another of the key elements is to bet for an optimal consumption of our electrical appliances, favoring the purchase of electrical appliances with label A+, A++ or A+++. An easy example is energy-saving light bulbs, which may be a higher initial investment, their life can be tripled, so that it means considerable savings on every field in the long term. 

If we are talking about more structural elements of the house, opting for watertight and resistant windows and doors greatly improves the air conditioning, as well as walls built with robust elements, since they help to reduce the heat escaping in winter. On the other hand, awnings or insulating roof coverings also help to keep the indoor temperature stable. 

In addition to water heating, implement condensing boilers, which involve significant investment at the beginning, ensure greater efficiency in the long term, which means energy and economic savings. 

If you want to go for energy efficiency in your home and disengage from fossil fuels, LRP Energy helps you in the process towards renewable energy solutions. 

Ask for your free study with one of our Energy Advisors now and check the profitability of a photovoltaic installation for your home.

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