The Difference Between Energy Efficiency And Energy Conservation – Big difference

I have said it before and I will say it again Energy Efficiency sucks because it implies that we can keep doing what we have been doing if we just use less energy. WRONG. The growth model of capitalism and the growth model of religious dominance were always doomed to failure because they were at the heart delusional. The Earth is finite and we ain’t moving to another planet anytime soon if ever. Oh wait, first I must say:


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The point has also been made that what we save in the residential market will only get “used” in the industrial market anyway. What we need is a whole new society design…That will take nearly cataclysmic events to produce.

Jeff Rubin's Smaller World

A blog about how weaning our economy off oil means some fundamental changes in the way we live, and other things

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 6:12 AM

Why energy efficiency means higher consumption

Jeff Rubin

Buddy, my furnace repairman, tells me it’s time to buy a new furnace. And I’d better act quickly if I still want to order the old mid-efficiency model. In the New Year, I have to buy a high-efficiency one, which, of course, costs twice as much.

Welcome to the brave new world of energy scarcity—it’s not only smaller, but also more costly. As energy prices continue to climb, you can expect to pay more, not less, for all the new energy-efficient cars and devices for your home.

But don’t count on actually saving any energy.

Efficiency may be the holy grail of the economist, but it’s a total head fake for the conservationist. And while one is being used to promote the other, the two concepts are as different as day and night.

The fact that the high-efficiency furnace generates more heat for a given amount of fuel burnt doesn’t necessarily mean I will end up with any fuel savings. As the cost of my heating falls, might it just allow me to set my thermostat higher? If so, my energy savings go right up the chimney.

That’s just where all the energy savings in the auto industry have gone over the last four decades — up the tailpipe, actually. Despite all the efficiency gains mandated by rising CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards, your average North American car consumes just as much fuel today as it did back in the early 1970s. Sure, the engine is 30 per cent more efficient, but now it’s hauling around an SUV that’s driven about a third more per year than a vehicle was back then.

And it’s no different in your home. Don’t be fooled by the fact that even today’s kettle has to meet some government-mandated energy-efficiency standard. Your house consumes a lot more energy than your parents’ did.


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