Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terminology Tuesday: Efficiency vs. Conservation

"Energy efficiency" and "conservation" are often used interchangeably.

But they aren't exactly the same.

"Conservation" is going without: Turning down your thermostat, reading by candlelight. "Efficiency," on the other hand, means getting the same energy service - the same lifestyle - with less raw fuel input. It means doing something faster, cleaner, less expensive.

via Alliance to Save Energy


Timothy B. Hurst said...

This is a tremendously important distinction and thanks for raising it. It is important politically, because the word 'conservation' stirs up lots of anti-environmental emotions and/or actions. It is distinctions like this one language that we, as environmental progressives, need to take ownership of.

I find the same thing true for the 'renewable' energy versus 'alternative' energy distinction. Alternative implies something other than the norm (with the norm being coal, oil, gas, etc).Therefore using the term 'alternative' suggests that renewable energies are subordinate to the more 'traditional' forms of energy.

Maria Surma Manka said...

Great point Tim - "alternative energy" definitely carries those distinctions.