What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency is the optimisation of energy consumption that enables us to achieve the same levels of comfort and quality of life with the implementation of mechanisms to save energy and avoid losses throughout the process.
In short, energy efficiency seeks a balance between energy consumption and the use of the essential services we need in our daily lives. Technological progress in the production of energy, how it is transported and devices that help us save are essential to achieving that energy efficiency.
To give you a clearer idea: A washing machine consumes a certain amount of energy so you can wash your clothes. With measures that are committed to energy efficiency, there will be washing machines capable of offering you the same service, with the same or higher quality and will also use much less energy.
All the players involved in improving efficiency
Although energy efficiency may seem like a recent issue, more and more players are involved in promoting it, including government agencies, energy production companies and, above all, consumers.
In the end, this is something that is so important for our future so any contribution is essential to achieving the objectives of energy efficiency and sustainability.
- Governments: both at the national and EU levels, actions are being promoted to achieve ever higher rates of energy efficiency. The goal is to reduce the amount of energy used and the pollution problems this causes.
The implementation of more efficient alternatives, such as local production of clean energy, enables us to depend less on energy from foreign markets and for energy prices to be more stable in the future.
- Energy production companies: more and more companies that produce energy are adopting the principles of energy efficiency. A firm commitment to the use of renewable sources enables energy to be produced whilst reducing the environmental impact, and even for production systems to reach the zero-emission level.
- Consumers: they are an essential part of the great impulse provided by energy efficiency measures. Their growing commitment towards caring for the environment is an essential factor that will enable these measures to advance even more quickly.
The control of expenses, a commitment to efficient domestic appliances and the increasing number of users who are contracting ecological electricity tariffs, are essential factors to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future.
How is energy efficiency measured?
The main standards for measuring energy efficiency are ISO 50001 and IPMVP (International Performance Measurement and Verification). These are standards and protocols to measure energy efficiency actions and the optimisation of energy use in production processes.
At a domestic level, in our homes it is much easier to measure energy efficiency based on two criteria:
- Decrease in consumption: comparing the energy consumed between two periods of time.
- A commitment to green energies: the origin of energy from sustainable sources has a great impact on energy efficiency, even if we maintain the same level of consumption.
Energy certification, to help us discover efficiency
Global awareness, the responsibility of manufacturers and producers, as well as the help provided by administrations are together creating collaboration tools to make energy efficiency present everywhere.
The need to accredit energy efficiency in domestic appliances, homes and buildings, led to energy certification. A simple labelling that helps us commit more easily to more energy-efficient products and services.
- Dark green indicates a product of great efficiency.
- Whilst red indicates a product of very low energy efficiency.
Each colour also goes together with a letter (from A to G) that divides the scale into seven efficiency categories, with A being the most efficient.
Energy efficiency in buildings
The energy efficiency of buildings takes into account both energy consumption (kWh per m2) and CO2 emissions (in kilograms per square metre). When the building achieves the maximum rating (A), this means that it consumes up to 90% less energy than any building in the lowest category (G).
Buildings that today have the A classification have characteristics based on the criteria of passive houses. During construction, factors such as location and materials are taken into account to make the best use of natural energy.
Energy efficiency of domestic appliances
In the case of domestic appliances, energy efficiency takes into account their annual energy consumption in kWh in accordance with average estimated use. Average water use and noise level also apply, where appropriate.
Again, the classification is divided into seven categories with colours from green to red and letters from A to G. With the new regulations, the most efficient appliances have category B and the letter A has been left vacant, to make room for progress in the future. The old A+, A++ and A+++ categories have been eliminated as they caused a certain amount of confusion among consumers.
Commitments to energy efficiency include a review of labelling when at least 30% of new appliances are given category A.