What Is The Third Rule For Becoming Efficient Users Of Energy?

Introduce the Topic

Energy efficiency refers to using less energy to provide the same service. For example, installing LED lightbulbs, properly insulating your home, or buying energy efficient appliances allows you to use less energy while maintaining the same level of lighting, comfort, and convenience.

Energy efficiency is important for several reasons:

  • It saves money by reducing energy bills.
  • It reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
  • It enhances energy security by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
  • It avoids the need to build new power plants and infrastructure.

By using energy more efficiently, we can maintain or improve our standard of living while using less energy. This benefits both individual consumers and society as a whole.

Overview of Rules for Energy Efficiency

When it comes to using energy more efficiently in our homes and workplaces, experts generally point to 5 key rules that everyone should follow. By being aware of these rules and putting them into practice in our daily lives, we can all contribute to conserving energy and using it more wisely. Using energy efficiently not only helps the environment, but also saves money on utility bills. The 5 main rules cover simple habits like turning off lights and appliances when not in use, upgrading to energy efficient products, adjusting thermostats, using less hot water, and limiting driving.

While the specific recommendations may vary slightly, most energy conservation tips fall into these 5 common sense categories. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the rules, with a particular focus on the third rule to use energy efficient products and appliances.

The First Two Rules

The first rule of energy efficiency is reducing energy demand through conservation efforts and increased efficiency (Issues of Sustainability). This involves doing the same tasks but using less energy input overall. Examples include installing insulation, energy-efficient windows, and LED light bulbs.

The second rule is increasing energy supply by utilizing renewable energy sources whenever possible (University of Wisconsin). Renewable sources like solar, wind, and hydropower generate energy with little to no greenhouse gas emissions.

Rule #3 – Use Energy Efficient Products

Using energy efficient products is one of the most impactful ways to reduce energy consumption in your home or office. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) (Energy Efficient Products for Consumers). Focusing purchases on ENERGY STAR certified appliances, electronics, lighting, and more can lead to significant energy savings.

using energy efficient products to reduce consumption

Some examples of highly efficient products include LED light bulbs, which use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, which are around 9-10% more efficient than standard models, and air source heat pumps for space heating and cooling, which can be over 50% more efficient than furnaces and air conditioners (List of ENERGY STAR Energy Efficient Products).

Choosing energy efficient models often costs more upfront but pays off over time through lower energy bills. Plus, many utilities and governments offer rebates, tax credits, and other incentives for purchasing efficient appliances and electronics, reducing the initial cost (Best Energy Efficiency Products: Pricing & Reviews). Embracing energy efficiency is one of the most impactful steps we can take to combat climate change while also saving money.

Examples of Efficient Products

There are many types of products that are considered energy efficient. Some common examples include:

Lighting – LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They produce the same amount of light but use far less electricity.

Appliances – Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances with the Energy Star rating are designed to use less energy and water than conventional models.

Electronics – Laptops, printers, televisions and other devices with the Energy Star rating or power-saving features consume less electricity when on and in standby mode.

Heating & Cooling Systems – Efficient furnaces, boilers, air conditioners have higher AFUE and SEER ratings, indicating they convert more of their fuel into usable heat and cooling.

Water Heaters – Heat pump and condensing water heaters provide hot water more efficiently than standard models.

Building Materials – Insulation, energy efficient windows and doors reduce heat transfer and energy leakage from homes and buildings.

How to Identify Efficient Products

One of the best ways to identify energy efficient products is to look for the EnergyGuide label. This label, developed by the Federal Trade Commission, provides details on the product’s estimated energy consumption, operating cost, and energy efficiency rating compared to similar models. The EnergyGuide label can be found on all new appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and air conditioners.

To read an EnergyGuide label, start by looking at the estimated yearly operating cost, which shows how much energy the appliance will use in a year based on national average costs and use. Next, look at the energy usage scale – the closer the arrow is to the left side indicating less energy used, the more efficient the model is compared to similar products. Finally, note the energy efficiency rating which rates the product’s energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the appliance is [1].

Choosing models with lower operating costs and higher efficiency ratings will lead to greater energy and cost savings over time. The EnergyGuide label makes it easy to compare energy use between different models and brands when shopping for appliances and electronics.

Benefits of Efficient Products

Efficient products provide numerous benefits for consumers and the environment. Some key benefits include:

  • Cost savings – Energy efficient products like LED lights, Energy Star appliances, and well-insulated windows can significantly reduce energy bills over time. According to the Consumer Features & Benefits of Energy Efficient Products report, efficient appliances can cut energy costs by 20-50% (https://www.kamloops.ca/sites/default/files/feature_citygreen_consumer_features_and_benefits_of_energy_efficiency_products.pdf).
  • Environmental benefits – Efficient products reduce energy waste and carbon emissions. The EPA estimates Energy Star certified products helped Americans avoid 260 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 alone (https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-report-energy-star-certified-products-helped-americans-avoid-260-million-metric).
  • Improved functionality – As discussed in the Coohom article, energy efficient products often provide better functionality by utilizing energy more intelligently. For example, an Energy Star fridge may have more usable space than a conventional model (https://www.coohom.com/article/energy-efficiency-and-its-proportional-relationship-with-functionality).
  • Rebates and incentives – Many utilities and governments offer rebates, tax credits, and other incentives for purchasing efficient products and making efficiency upgrades.

By choosing efficient products, consumers can save money, reduce environmental impact, and often get improved performance.

Overcoming Barriers

While energy efficient products offer many benefits, some common concerns may prevent consumers from purchasing them. Cost is often cited as the number one barrier according to a UK government report[1]. However, energy efficient products can save money over time through lower energy bills, despite potentially higher upfront costs.

Another barrier is lack of knowledge and awareness about the performance and availability of efficient models[2]. Consumers may think efficient products are inferior or harder to find. But today’s models often match or exceed standard options in quality and can be found at most major retailers.

With education and incentives, these barriers can be overcome. Governments and utilities offer rebates and tax credits to make efficient models more affordable. Retailers are also promoting energy efficient choices more prominently. As consumers experience the benefits firsthand, adoption continues to grow.

The Next Two Rules

The fourth and fifth rules for becoming efficient users of energy focus on optimizing building design and leveraging automation technology.

The fourth rule emphasizes constructing or retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. This involves strategies like installing proper insulation, utilizing passive solar design principles, and upgrading to energy efficient windows and doors (Source). Proper building design can reduce heating and cooling loads, resulting in lower energy usage.

The fifth rule is to take advantage of smart technologies and automation. Programmable and smart thermostats, lighting controls, and building automation systems allow for intelligent control of energy-using systems. By optimizing run times and set points, automation helps curtail energy waste (Source).


As outlined in this overview, the third rule for becoming more efficient users of energy is to use energy efficient products. This rule is crucial for reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability.

Energy efficient products like LED lights, ENERGY STAR appliances, and insulated windows can significantly cut down on the amount of electricity, gas, and other resources homes and businesses use. Identifying products with efficiency certifications makes it easier for consumers to choose options that will save them money and lessen environmental impact.

While efficient products may have higher upfront costs, the long-term savings often outweigh the initial investment. Plus, reduced energy use benefits the environment by lowering carbon emissions. Overall, transitioning to energy efficient products is one of the most impactful steps we can take to use energy more responsibly.

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