Efficiency offers the greatest rewards and quickest energy solutions because our economy has been built on cheap energy sources. With efficiency, between 30 and 70 percent reductions in energy consumption are possible while maintaining similar levels of energy services.
Every dollar invested in efficiency saves $1.80 on energy bills. Every dollar invested in efficiency and renewables provides $6.00 in energy, economic, and environmental benefits. As new technologies flow into the marketplace, additional savings are possible.
The following examples illustrate the point:
LightingReplacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents cuts energy use 75 percent. Replacing T12 fluorescent tubes with T8 tubes cuts energy use 30 percent.
Exit lightsReplacing existing incandescent exit signs with LEDS signs can save 90 percent of the electricity used to power them 24 hours per day. Their long life dramatically decreases the frequency with which the lights are replaced.
DaylightingDaylighting using light tubes or appropriately placed windows can dramatically reduce the need for artificial lighting.
MotorsOlder electrical motors, which consume substantial amounts of electricity, can be replaced by more efficient motors with savings of 30 percent. Older HVAC equipment could be replaced with more efficient units, as could compressors in older commercial freezer and refrigeration units.
Drink coolersPop machines and water coolers are ubiquitous in public settings. Vending misers in pop machines can cut their energy consumption in half as the machines are powered down when an area is unoccupied. Similarly, water coolers can be controlled by timers that shut off the cooling mechanism during unoccupied hours.
Combined heat and powerCombined heat and power, or co-generation, both produces electricity and utilizes the otherwise waste heat from the process. Such systems can reach efficiencies levels of 90 percent. McCormick Place in Chicago utilizes a CHP system operated by Trigen Energy.
CHP systems come in a range of sizes suitable for a variety of uses within the community. A system may be sized to serve a several-block area or an entire city. The large systems are referred to as district heating. Their use would be beneficial to Rockford.
Efficiency grants available through The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) have been used to upgrade lighting in libraries, schools, museums and public buildings. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has a free energy efficiency audit service available to small business interests.
While efficiency is easy, people need to be constantly reminded of the need to take appropriate action.
From the May 18-24, 2005, issue