Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. Installing fluorescent lights, LED lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared with using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Improvements in energy efficiency are generally achieved by adopting a more efficient technology or production process or by application of commonly accepted methods to reduce energy losses.
There are many motivations to improve energy efficiency. Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in a financial cost saving to consumers if the energy savings offset any additional costs of implementing an energy efficient technology. Reducing energy use is also seen as a solution to the problem of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the world's energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy and are high priorities in the sustainable energy hierarchy. In many countries energy efficiency is also seen to have a national security benefit because it can be used to reduce the level of energy imports from foreign countries and may slow down the rate at which domestic energy resources are depleted.
Industries use a large amount of energy to power a diverse range of manufacturing and resource extraction processes. Many industrial processes require large amounts of heat and mechanical power, most of which is delivered as natural gas, petroleum fuels and as electricity. In addition some industries generate fuel from waste products that can be used to provide additional energy. Because industrial processes are so diverse it is impossible to describe the multitude of possible opportunities for energy efficiency in industry. Many depend on the specific technologies and processes in use at each industrial facility. There are, however, a number of processes and energy services that are widely used in many industries.
Various industries generate steam and electricity for subsequent use within their facilities. When electricity is generated, the heat that is produced as a by-product can be captured and used for process steam, heating or other industrial purposes. Conventional electricity generation is about 30% efficient, whereas combined heat and power (also called co-generation) converts up to 90 percent of the fuel into usable energy.
Advanced boilers and furnaces can operate at higher temperatures while burning less fuel. These technologies are more efficient and produce fewer pollutants. Over 45 percent of the fuel used is burnt to make steam. The typical industrial facility can reduce this energy usage 20 percent by insulating steam and condensate return lines, stopping steam leakage, and maintaining steam traps.
Electric motors usually run at a constant speed, but a variable speed drive allows the motor’s energy output to match the required load. This achieves energy savings ranging from 3 to 60 percent, depending on how the motor is used. Motor coils made of superconducting materials can also reduce energy losses. Motors may also benefit from voltage optimisation.
Industry uses a large number of pumps and compressors of all shapes and sizes and in a wide variety of applications. The efficiency of pumps and compressors depends on many factors but often improvements can be made by implementing better process control and better maintenance practices. Compressors are commonly used to provide compressed air which is used for sand blasting, painting, and other power tools. Optimizing compressed air systems by installing variable speed drives, along with preventive
maintenance to detect and fix air leaks, can improve energy efficiency 20 to 50 percent.
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is an agency of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Power created in March 2002 under the provisions of the nation's 2001 Energy Conservation Act. The agency's function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India. The government has proposed to make it mandatory for certain appliances in India to have ratings by the BEE starting in January 2010. The mission of Bureau of Energy Efficiency is to "institutionalise" energy efficiency services, enable delivery mechanisms in the country and provide leadership to energy efficiency in all sectors of the country. The primary objective would be to reduce energy intensity in the economy.
The broad objectives of BEE are as under: To exert leadership and provide policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation and efficiency efforts and programs. To coordinate energy efficiency and conservation policies and programs and take it to the stakeholders. To establish systems and procedures to measure, monitor and verify energy efficiency results in individual sectors as well as at a macro level. To leverage multi-lateral and bi-lateral and private sector support in implementation of Energy Conservation Act and efficient use of energy and its conservation programs. To demonstrate delivery of energy efficiency services as mandated in the EC bill through private-public partnerships. To interpret, plan and manage energy conservation programs as envisaged in the Energy Conservation Act. Objectives Provide a policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation activities Coordinate policies and programmes on efficient use of energy with shareholders. Establish systems and procedures to verify, measure and monitor Energy Efficiency (EE) improvements Leverage multilateral, bilateral and private sector support to implement the EC Act 2001 Demonstrate EE delivery systems through public-private partnerships.