Energy Efficiency & Energy Conservation

Renewable Energy is just part of our clean energy solution.  In order to sustain ourselves, we must also employ energy efficient technologies and institute conservation measures.  Concurrent development of  renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation are important in stabilizing and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and in alleviating the stress on our dwindling fossil fuel supplies.
Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide a maintained level of energy service. For example, insulating a home allows the homeowner to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. Another example would be installing LED, fluorescent lights, or skylights instead of incandescent lights to maintain the same level of illumination. Energy efficient appliances are available to lower energy use, while maintaining an acceptable level of service. Efficient energy use is achieved primarily by means of more efficient technologies or processes rather than by changes in individual behavior.
Energy conservation on the other hand, means using less energy to achieve a lesser energy service through behavioral change. Examples of conservation without efficiency improvements would be lowering a thermostat in winter (or raising it in summer) and working in a less brightly lit room. The boundary between the definitions of energy efficiency and energy conservation can be blurry, but both are important in environmental and economic terms.
Energy efficiency and conservation are the places to start with a quest for energy independence, environmental preservation, and lower energy bills. Energy conservation can be implemented with little or no cost, and result in immediate cost savings.  Energy efficiency measures often require cash outlay. Both measures offset the cost of a renewable energy system. Investing in energy efficiency and conservation is best done before or at the same time as purchasing and installing a renewable energy system. Energy that is not consumed is energy that does not need to be produced.  Using less energy through these measures means that a renewable energy system can be smaller and thus, less expensive.
Lake Michigan Wind & Sun can be hired by property owners in various sectors - agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial – to do energy efficiency audits and analyses.  Property owners can save the expense of this service by doing energy use calculations using online calculators such as the Home Energy Suite and the Home Energy Saver.
Step 1: Evaluate energy use and needs.
Step 2: Explore available conservation and energy efficiency measures.
Step 3: Incorporate above measures.
Step 4: Re-evaluate energy use and needs.
Step 5: Advance to renewable energy options.