What Is Electrical Energy Conservation?

B. Miller

Electrical energy conservation refers to the process of reducing energy used through various means. Many of these methods for reducing energy consumption can be undertaken at home; turning down the thermostat, turning off the lights when leaving the room, or switching off power strips when not in use are all examples of this. Homes, businesses or power companies making use of alternative clean energy sources, such as wind or solar energy, are also examples of electrical energy conservation. Many traditional electrical power plants are coal-fired, which contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, contributing to climate change; this is just one reason that energy conservation is important.

A programmable thermostat can reduce energy consumption.
A programmable thermostat can reduce energy consumption.

For many people, electrical energy conservation begins at home. Not only is this good for the environment, but it can also significantly reduce the amount of a monthly electric bill. Some of the simplest steps to energy conservation include switching traditional light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, or turning the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter. Making sure appliances are efficient, and that windows and doors are well sealed against the outdoors, are other examples of energy conservation. People looking for other opportunities for electrical energy conservation in the home should also look for power strips that can be switched off.

Solar panels can provide clean, renewable power to homes and other buildings.
Solar panels can provide clean, renewable power to homes and other buildings.

This type of energy use is sometimes referred to as "vampire energy," and refers to passive energy that is used when appliances are plugged in but not in use. For instance, televisions and computers still pull energy even when they are off. Plugging these items into a power strip, and switching it off at the source, can help to reduce or eliminate sources of this "vampire energy" in the home. Some people will go even further with resource conservation in their homes, and will install solar panels or geothermal systems to provide power, heating, and cooling to the home on a renewable, clean basis.

A wind farm that's used to make renewable energy.
A wind farm that's used to make renewable energy.

Electrical energy conservation takes place on the larger scale as well. The development and sale of clean, renewable energy from sources like wind turbines and larger solar farms is another example. Utility companies are often capable of developing this type of clean energy, but it is the responsibility of the consumer to get involved and demand it. Businesses can also take steps to ensure that they are having a low energy impact by purchasing power from these types of companies, if possible, or by teaching employees to switch off lights and computers when they leave at the end of the day.

Using energy efficient CFL lights is an easy way to conserve energy.
Using energy efficient CFL lights is an easy way to conserve energy.

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Discussion Comments


@Ana1234 - I'm sure one day all our energy needs will be met by renewable sources, but at the moment it's not completely feasible to just switch overnight. I don't know much about solar panels, but what I do know is that you need a lot of them in order to generate power and they will only work well in certain climates.

They are expensive, can be difficult to keep clean and are probably made with synthetic materials that aren't growing on trees. Changing to solar panel use across the board is going to take time and the same goes for every other kind of renewable energy resource.

In the meantime, people need to learn to conserve electrical energy. It wouldn't even be that hard for most households or businesses to do this. It's just a matter of providing proper incentives to encourage them to do so.


@Fa5t3r - Maybe in an ideal world we'd be able to get everyone to conserve the maximum amount of energy but I actually think what needs to be done realistically is for solar energy and other forms of renewable energy to be given more of a boost.

Solar panels should be routinely incorporated into every building design. If energy was cheap and widely available without consequences we wouldn't have to worry about it or how to convince people to conserve it.


Businesses are often ridiculously bad at energy conservation. I don't know why it became the norm to just switch of the screen of a computer without shutting it down, but what I do know is that my friends who work in computer support are always complaining about people at their workplaces who never allow the computers to update because they never turn them off.

Which is bad for the running of the computer, but even worse for the company, surely, since it means that the machine is running all the time and drawing energy all the time.

And that's just one area where electricity is being wasted. Honestly, if they were as quick to implement real resource saving techniques as they were to fire people the world would be a much better place.

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