Energy Efficiency is the Cheapest, Cleanest and Fastest form of new energy

In order to slow down Global Warming, the world must reduce carbon emission by 70%. There are many contributors; for example, from automobiles, power plants, etc. The repercussion can be many as well.

Energy generation is one of the major. As population grows, the demand for energy increases; thus, building more power plants. The nuclear power plant may be the cheapest from energy generation perspective; however, the risk is high as well. The aftermath of a nuclear disaster could have long term effects.

About 20% of the generated energy is lost due power distribution to our homes. To some, spending a few dollar more on electricity is no big deal. To islanders like Hawaiian or Taiwan people, this is a big deal. As a citizen of the world, whatever policy or decision we make today will affect the future generation.

The cost of energy is on the upward trend. This is a vicious cycle created by our demand.

Fig. 2 Energy Trend per capita

What can we do on our part that does not depend on the policy makers? Lighting is just one of the angle as it affect the wellbeing of the people and it consumes 20% of the Energy in a building. Sadly, if the policy makers did not ban the incandescent bulbs, there will still be demand today.

To some millennials, there is no concept of energy saving. In some instances, switching off the light when not in use is a simple energy saving habit; however, most of us do not practise it. When purchasing a lamp, we go for the cheapest without considering the cost of operating the lamp.

Fig. 1: Big Picture of how LED should replace Incandescent Bulbs and Compact Fluorescent

Fig.1 is a simple representation of the power plants needed to power different types of lighting. As consumer, our task is just to switch from Incandescent to LED lamps. LED lamp may be five to ten times more expensive to purchase. However, it reduces the demand strain to the power grid.

So, why are we still not switching?

  • As retailer, they just want to sell fast moving products. The cheaper the better.
  • As a purchasing officer for a company, the KPI is best price and not energy efficiency.
  • As consumer, we pay electricity bill to operate the lamp but may not aware of the operating cost

From the context of total cost of ownership, it is important to understand the value proposition of the energy efficient lamp.

Even if the Incandescent lamp is given Free of Charge, it still make sense to pay more to operate an LED lamp. The same goes to converting Fluorescent to T8 LED tube.

The energy saved will recover the initial cost of the lamp over time. The big intangible benefit is that you have contributed to lowering the demand for more electricity; thus, less power plant or help shift excess energy to new demand.

If the world could adopt the same mindset, by just switching from Incandescent to LED lamps, one has contributed to reducing the power demand for lighting by 50%.  The decision to Switch is a simple decision. In fact, one is making money from this simple decision. Whatever you saved is profit to you.


Energy is a constrained resource. If given an option to select between two lamps delivering the same light; it make sense to consider how to reduce the wastage. A less efficient lamp consumes more energy. If a more efficient lamp could deliver the same, then, there is wastage in operating the less efficient lamp.

Energy Efficiency is making conscious decision to reduce the wastage. In the case of LED lamp, the 50% saved could be shifted to another household; thus, less demand to the power grid.

For every dollar one invest to save energy, it cost at least two dollar to build new power plant to generate and distribute the new energy to the consumer.

Energy Efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest and fastest form of new energy.

As consumer, it is just by switching to a more energy efficient product. The product may cost more; however, because it is more efficient, it cost less to operate; thus, drawing less energy from the power grid.


Leave a Reply