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What is wasted energy?

When we use electricity for a task that is unimportant, unnecessary, or unlikely to succeed, this is wasted energy. Energy waste occurs in many ways. For example, an office with lights that don't switch off after employees leave, or a factory with leaky pipes will both waste electricity, heat, and other forms of power. Understanding what is wasted energy is a key to reducing it by adopting energy saving strategies and technologies. These include replacing inefficient equipment with energy efficient equipment, and installing programmable thermostats to automatically adjust heating and cooling levels based on occupancy. Additional ways to prevent wastage of electricity include switching to systems that generate energy from renewable sources like the sun or the wind, coupled with battery energy storage solutions to stockpile energy for use when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.
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Why is it important to reduce wasted energy?

Reducing wasted energy is good for the environment and good for the bottom line. There are many ways to reduce energy waste, but what they all have in common is that they will cut your utility bills and your greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. For example, reducing energy waste in manufacturing and improving production line efficiency is essential if manufacturers are to comply with mandatory greenhouse gas emissions regulations. As more and more industries transition to renewable energy in order to meet their sustainability goals, flexibility in the way electricity is generated combined with energy conservation and storage techniques can help you reduce power consumption and save energy. Services such as Demand Response are a way to increase flexibility and reduce energy waste.

How to reduce wasted energy for your business?

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There are many ways to reduce wasted energy so that you can improve your business' bottom line and also shrink your carbon footprint. One of the simplest is to turn off all equipment when not in use, such as at night and on weekends. The question of how to reduce wasted energy starts with optimizing the use of refrigeration and cooling, which can account for up to 50% of a site’s energy costs. Maintain boilers and heating distribution systems on a regular basis, as poorly operating boilers can add 30% to heating costs. Replacing old equipment is another important step. Swapping older lighting technologies with LED lighting, and replacing inefficient boilers with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units can achieve energy cost savings of up to 70% and reduce CO₂ emissions by up to 30%.

 

 

Energy management systems can also help, by fitting sensors to electrical equipment to monitor system efficiencies and determine where further energy savings can be made. Battery energy storage systems deliver many benefits including greater energy efficiency, and can therefore help reduce wasted energy by storing electricity generated by a photovoltaic (PV) solar power system for when it is most needed. Lastly, digital applications are now a significant tool for businesses that want to reduce wasted energy. Enel X Connect is a platform of four digital applications to support businesses on their path to cost-effective energy management: Utility Bill Management, Energy Exchange, Energy Management and Comfort Management.

How to reduce your wasted energy at home?

There are plenty of ways to reduce wasted energy at home. Some are more obvious than others, like shutting off lights in empty rooms. Energy saving home improvements include sealing doors and windows, and upgrading to LED lights, which are 70-80% more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. There are also a number of energy efficient products for the home, including smart appliances and technologies that can be managed remotely through home automation thanks to an app.

 

Here are some further suggestions:

  • Unplug any electronic devices such as computers and phone chargers when not in use. Connect them all to a power bar to shut them off with one switch
  • Use a programmable thermostat to cut down on unnecessary heating or cooling
  • Change air filters on heating and air conditioning systems regularly
  • Replace an energy-sucking old fridge or water heater
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If you’ve already started on some of these, contacting an expert for a home energy audit can help you move to the next step, which may even be to install photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on your rooftop or balcony. When combined with battery energy storage, they can help reduce wasted energy by making it easier to monitor your consumption.

How does reducing wasted energy help the environment?

There is a direct link between reducing energy waste and helping the environment, because generating electricity, when it is produced by burning fossil fuels, produces greenhouse gasses that harm the planet. By cutting energy waste, electricity plants that burn fossil fuels work less, and therefore reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants that are creating a greenhouse effect that is causing higher temperatures, extreme weather conditions, and increased natural disasters. In addition to reducing the air pollution that is destabilizing our planet’s climate, turning off an extra light or lowering your thermostat saves natural resources like trees, coal, and natural gas. Lastly, wasted energy ultimately harms the biodiversity of animals and plants in our ecosystem by destroying their natural habitats from the extraction of fossil fuels. If we take actions and adopt good practices to reduce wasted energy, we can lower our  carbon emissions footprint and contribute to the fight against pollution and climate change.

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