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Energy Efficiency 101

Easy Energy Efficiency Actions You Can Take Today!

Help the planet, help your wallet.

Advocate for energy efficiency in your office, school and daily activities. Encourage others to take energy efficiency actions to improve comfort, save money and support climate action. Spread the word about the multiple benefits of energy efficiency.

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  1. Switch to LED lights. Replacing old fluorescent and incandescent lighting with LED systems improve light quality and reduce heat gains. LEDs efficiency is up to 90% higher than incandescent lighting and 60% more efficient compared to fluorescent lighting.
    Learn more: https://www.iea.org/reports/targeting-100-led-lighting-sales-by-2025
  2. Say YES to eco-cycle for laundry. Although some eco-cycles are typically longer than standard cycles, they save energy and water. Many modern washing machines use technologies to ensure clothes are clean without extra water or heat and modern laundry detergents work just as well at low temperatures.
    Learn more: Understand your appliances’ eco settings | One Home
  3. Switch to efficient windows. Improve insulation by replacing single-pane windows with double pane windows, consider other elements to increase efficiency such as the frame materials, glass features, gas fills and spacers.
    Learn more: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/update-or-replace-windows
  4. Run your efficient dishwasher. Efficient dishwashers and modern detergents are designed to remove food without pre-rinsing. Running your dishwasher can save energy, water and time compared to doing the dishes by hand.
    Learn more: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/dishwashers
  5. Replace your old refrigerator with a new efficient and climate-friendly Replacing your old refrigerator can help you save 60% of electricity consumption at home and up to 80% in your business, while also having more climate friendly refrigerants.
    Learn more: https://united4efficiency.org/products/refrigerators
  6. Trust the temperature of your efficient refrigerator. Modern and efficient refrigerators have improved compressors, refrigerants, and insulation. There is no need to change the temperatures during hot days, efficient refrigerators are designed to preserve food the longest.
    Learn more: Refrigerator Best Practices | ENERGY STAR
  7. Use smart thermostats to automatically adjust temperatures. Programmable and adaptive smart thermostats can improve comfort and save energy by turning the heat or cooling off when they are not needed.
    Learn more: Smart Thermostats | ENERGY STAR
  8. Buy or rent homes that are labelled efficient (e.g., 5 Star, A+, ENERGY STAR, LEED Platinum or equivalent). Energy savings can help make mortgage payments while having improve comfort in your new home.
    Learn more: Empowering Renters through Energy Efficiency Labels in Rental Listings | ACEEE
  9. Purchase or rent products with energy efficiency labels (e.g. BEE STAR, A+++, Energy STAR, FIDE). Efficient air conditioners, televisions, fans, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators and other electronic devices can improve comfort and save money.
    Learn more: https://www.iea.org/policies/7592-energy-efficiency-labeling-and-standard  
  10. Conduct energy audits at home or business. Simple or complex energy audits can help identify energy efficiency opportunities. At home, you can do your own home energy assessment, while some utilities or governments offer free or low-cost professional energy audits.
    Learn more: Home Energy Assessments | Department of Energy
  11. Install occupancy sensors to automatically turn lights off and on. At home, in school or the office, sensors can save between 15-30% on energy costs for lighting.
    Learn more: Lighting Controls | Department of Energy
  12. Use smart meters in households and business. Smart meters allow you to measure your energy consumption and send this information to your energy supplier. This means that you will have more accurate bills and helps you understand and manage your energy consumption.
    Learn more: https://www.adb.org/news/videos/smart-meters-energy-efficiency.
  13. Use reflective paint to keep the heat out. In business, schools, households and in vehicles, reflective paint can reduce up to 98% of the sun’s heat on your roof, walls and other surfaces. This reduces the need for air conditioners and improves thermal comfort.
    Learn more: Dynamic performance and energy efficiency of reflective and insulative composite coating on building exterior wall | SpringerLink
  14. Increase your insulation. More insulation can improve comfort and reduce energy bills. If you are updating your heating and cooling systems start by improving insulation first to reduce the size and cost of the system.
    Learn more: Why Seal and Insulate? | ENERGY STAR
  15. Use smart appliances and equipment or activate sleep settings. Power management systems switch off appliances and equipment when they are not in use.
    Learn more: A call to action on efficient and smart appliances – Analysis - IEA
  16. Regularly perform maintenance of heating and cooling Repairing leaks and identifying damaged components ensures the system is working efficiently.
    Learn more: Maintenance Checklist | ENERGY STAR
  17. Open and close your shades and curtains. Increase your thermal comfort and reduce energy use by controlling the direct sun through windows by opening and closing shades or curtains. External shades provide excellent reduction of direct solar gain, while internal curtains can act as an insulation barrier and shade to keep heat in during the winter and keep the heat out in the summer.
    Learn more: Energy Efficient Window Coverings | Department of Energy
  18. Install heat pumps powered by low-emissions electricity. Heat pumps used for heating and cooling, reduce household’s exposure to price changes of fossil fuels and are three to five times more energy efficient than natural gas boilers. Tip: Do not forget to improve insulation before.   
    Learn more: https://www.iea.org/reports/the-future-of-heat-pumps/executive-summary
  19. Don’t forget to inflate your tyres on your vehicle. Check the appropriate pressure of your tyres periodically to ensure that under inflated tyres are not increasing your fuel consumption or posing safety concerns.
    Learn more: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.jsp
  20. Be aware of your vehicle’s aerodynamics. This includes not using roof racks in your car when you don’t need them, as they and other car attachments can increases drag and fuel consumption.
    Learn more: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/efficient-driving/

Learn more: https://missionefficiency.org/elevate/

Energy efficiency is related but different than:

Energy conservation

Using less services to use less energy and is often a behavioral change. Examples of energy conservation includes turning the light off, even if light is needed, or by dimming the lights below the lighting lumens needed for the productive use or need for illumination.

Energy sufficiency

Having the energy service you need without additional energy, typically by design. Examples include using natural daylight instead of an electrical light and turning the lights off when you don’t need them.

Energy productivity

Gaining more service (or productive use) from the same amount of energy. Examples include providing more lumens of light with the same amount of energy.

Renewable energy

Energy that is climate friendly and long term viable (sustainable) from renewable resources, ideally from multiple sources that can support hourly and seasonal variation in energy demand. Examples include small- or large-scale biofuels, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind energy sources

Energy Efficiency

Using less energy for the same service, typically by design. Examples include having a lightbulb that uses less energy to provide the same light service & having sensors and smart switches that turn the light off when you don’t need additional light.

Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency

The term multiple benefits aims to capture a reality that is often overlooked: investment in energy efficiency can provide many different benefits to many different stakeholders.

Access to Energy


Energy efficiency can increase the services delivered by each kilowatt of electricity and improve energy access

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Air Quality


Energy efficiency can reduce both indoor and outdoor concentrations of air pollutants.

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Asset Values


Energy efficiency can increase asset values for homeowners, businesses and utilities

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Economic Benefits


Cost-effective energy efficiency improvements can have positive macroeconomic impacts, boosting economic activity

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Emissions Savings


Energy efficiency reduces GHG emissions, both direct emissions from fossil fuel, and indirect emissions from electricity generation.

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Energy efficiency can induce job creation, improve productivity and decreases employee absenteeism.

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Energy Prices


Energy efficiency can lower energy prices by reducing the need to add new power generation or transmission capacity and by reducing pressure on energy resources.

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Energy Savings


Energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used to provide a service.

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Energy Security


Energy efficiency can reduce the reliance on energy imports and reduce the risks of supply interruptions.

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Health and Wellbeing


Energy efficiency supports physical and mental health with healthy temperatures, humidity, noise, and air quality.

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Household Savings


Energy efficiency can enable higher disposable income by lowering energy bills and other households costs.

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Energy efficiency leads to productivity gains by lowering maintenance issues and optimising processes.

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Whether you are a student, professional, policy maker or just someone interested in energy efficiency, there are training resources available from our partners on a range of topics and for a range of sectors.

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