How do we measure energy efficiency?
Some people promote and use so-called "star" energy
rating. Unfortunately the "star" energy rating is deeply
misleading, because it prevents people from understanding the
Nature of the energy they use, not to mention reasons and consequences
for their energy waste. "Star" system prevents people
from seeking devices and lifestyle that are truly energy efficient.
Finding out what a "star rating" really means in terms
of energy efficiency (and waste) is actually impossible.
Those who are impressed by a "6 star" fridge that consumes
210kWh a year won't even begin to imagine a fridge that consumes
40 kWh a year. Have you seen it here
Another way some people measure "efficiency" is by the
amount of money any given gadget costs them to run. While more
efficient gadget will consume less energy and will cost less to
operate, thinking in terms of money is a real barrier for improving
People settle for what they can afford, and if they can afford
it - they don't care about improving anything. They assume that
energy supply is unlimited and the only limit is what they can
Aiming for monetary efficiency (profit) and energy efficiency
are totally different directions leading to totally different
outcomes. Do you realize that money oriented decisions have led
us to the situation we are today, where the environment is destroyed
faster than it can recover?
I consider energy efficiency in a wider context - sustaining The
Planet and the Environment. From this point of view it actually
does matter where the energy we are using comes FROM and how much
pollution is generated as a result of its generation and waste.
Have you explored your electricity bill? Have you noticed how
many TONNES of pollution your household generates each month?
The main reason for
such a horrific pollution figure is a very low efficiency of electricity
generation from fossil fuels, typically around 20%. It means that
electricity made from fossil fuels is a very "dirty"
kind of energy. For every kWh of such energy that you use, FOUR
escapes via various chimneys to the atmosphere. Not only that.
Exhaust gasses (CO2) from those chimneys form a trap for Solar
heat, contributing to global climate change and planetary interior
overheating that sooner or later WILL affect us all more than
From the above it is important that energy that we use comes from
sustainable and non-polluting sources. Even if we waste some of
such energy - we create zero footprint on the environment.
Did you know that small power generators can be 97%
efficient if they are intelligently adapted for their particular
Another side to energy efficiency is a necessity of reducing our
demand for energy, especially from non-sustainable (dirty and
polluting) sources. It is very important to be able to understand
and quantify our energy needs. Only then we can
see where we really need energy, where we waste it and how we
our energy needs in the most effective way.
Having energy efficient lights and gadgets is a step in a good
direction, but a better way is to design a house and/or modify
the lifestyle to avoid some of them altogether. Take for example
a vacuum cleaner. I have no need for it, because I installed floor
coverings that are much easier, quicker and quieter to sweep than
to vacuum clean.
In a similar way, the best way to reduce the need for heating
energy in winter is to consciously design a well-insulated
house with double glazed windows. Then, solar
heating or a small heat pump system
can do wonders.
Implementing some simple ideas can reduce the household energy
consumption to only 0.8
kWh per day...