What is Energy Efficiency?

F_XS15_Energy effiencyCoastal Energy, the Ōtaki Energy Co-operative, can help.

The broad target of energy efficiency is to reduce the energy requirements for products and services, resulting in three main benefits: higher economic efficiency, reduction of scarcity of energy resources, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, house insulation allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy, while maintaining a comfortable temperature. A higher level of energy efficiency means consuming less energy while continuing to obtain the benefits to which we are accustomed (e.g. availability of lighting, heating, electric motors). Installing compact fluorescent lights, LED lights or natural skylights reduces the amount of energy needed to achieve the same level of illumination compared with conventional bulbs.

The best way to understand this idea is through examples: Energy Efficiency is when you replace a single pane window in your house with a double glazed one, the new window prevents heat from escaping in the winter, so you save energy by using your fire or electric heater less while still comfortable.

When you replace an appliance, such as a refrigerator or washing machine, or office equipment, such as a computer or printer, with a more energy-efficient model, the new equipment provides the same service, but uses less energy. This saves you money on your energy bill, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.

In comparison Energy conservation is reducing or going without a service to save energy. For example: Turning off a light is energy conservation. Replacing an incandescent lamp with a compact fluorescent lamp (which uses much less energy to produce the same amount of light) is energy efficiency. Both efficiency and conservation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Ōtaki Energy Co-operative helps households in their move towards energy efficiency. Their advice on power usage includes an assessment with specialist auditing tools, and whether installing solar power panels is a viable investment. Sometimes people hesitate to invest in solar panels, being told by solar companies they need a 3 KW installation. This is where the Co-operative follows a different approach. They individually assess the situation and give recommendations (i.e. number of solar panels) depending on client’s energy needs and their consumption pattern. Instead of exporting the solar generated power to the grid they advise installing only enough capacity for self–consumption by electrical appliances within the home or business. Off-setting electricity bills with solar power is more valuable than exporting your power to the grid.

Energy efficient products like LED lights, heaters and other electrical equipment are also on offer to co-op members. Benefits for members include discounts on purchases, rebates on transactions and dividends on shares.

Delivering energy efficiency for domestic and commercial consumers is the purpose of the recently formed Ōtaki Energy Co-operative. Trading under the name of Coastal Energy, it aims to empower communities to influence, manage and implement renewable electrical supply for the benefit and resilience of the community.

For more information please contact:

Phil Malpas

Ōtaki Energy Co-operation Limited
Mobile: 021 42 0106