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Use of energy explained Energy efficiency and conservation

Everyone uses energy

People use energy for transportation, cooking, heating and cooling rooms, manufacturing, lighting, entertainment, and many other uses. The choices people make about how they use energy—turning machines off when they're not using them or choosing to buy fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-efficient appliances—affects the environment and people's lives.

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The ENERGY STAR® label on appliances and electronic equipment identifies energy-efficient products.

Efficiency and conservation are different but related

The terms energy efficiency and energy conservation have distinct meanings:

  • Energy efficiency is using technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. Using a light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb or a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb that requires less energy than an incandescent light bulb to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency.
  • Energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. Turning the lights off when leaving the room and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy.

Last updated: February 1, 2019