Frequently Asked Quesitons About Sustainable Enervgy

Sustainable Energy 101


What is sustainable energy?

Sustainable energy is comprised of three pillars energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy and refers to meeting the energy needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Learn about how sustainable energy projects get funded.

What is energy conservation?

Energy conservation is reducing energy consumption by receiving less of energy’s benefits. For example, during the winter turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater is a good example of energy conservation.

What is energy efficiency?

Unlike energy conservation where you reduce consumption and receive fewer benefits, energy efficiency is where you achieve the same or greater benefit and reduce consumption through more efficient use of energy. For example if you replace electric resistance heat with a heat pump you can maintain the same temperature during the winter and may reduce your energy consumption due to heating by 30 to 60%.

What are examples of renewable energy?

The most common examples include solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, wave, tidal, and biomass. All are derived from sustainable sources of energy including sun (solar), wind, water (hydroelectric, wave, and tidal), heat from the earth (geothermal), and biological material (biomass). Learn more about sustainable energy practices.

Are renewable energy and sustainable energy the same thing?

Not necessarily. Renewable and sustainable energy are similar, but not everything renewable is sustainable and vice versa. Renewable energy sources naturally replenish with time and have minimal impact on the environment, but some sources are not sustainable due to their intermittent nature. Sustainable is a broader term and refers to energy possessing a large enough supply to meet its own rate of consumption. A renewable energy source cannot be sustainable if consumed faster than it can replenish itself. Learn more about energy-saving practices.

What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources?

Renewable energy sources are replenished naturally by the environment over short periods of time such as solar, wind, water, biomass, biogas or geothermal power. Nonrenewable sources exist in finite quantities and will eventually run out with respect to the human timetable. These include coal, oil, and natural gas. Learn more about renewable energy sources.

What is the most sustainable source of energy?

In theory, solar energy is the most sustainable. The power, supply, and overall consistency of the sun vastly outweigh that of any other energy source. Truthfully, the most sustainable configuration will likely utilize multiple sources of energy including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, energy conservation and energy efficiency. Talk to the experts to learn more.

Energy Management 101


What is sustainable energy management?

The process of planning, implementing and managing the consumption of energy in a manner consistent with sustainability objectives, which include meeting the energy needs of the present without compromising those of the future; minimizing environmental impact; reducing waste; reducing costs; and conserving resources. Learn more about energy-efficiency.

What are some ways you can conserve energy?
  • Energy audits
  • Power down electronics and lights when not in use
  • Invest in energy-efficient appliances
  • HVAC maintenance and upgrades
  • Turn down water heaters (less hot)
  • Don’t overcool or overheat rooms
  • Replace air filters routinely
  • Set computers to “sleep mode”
  • Upgrade insulation
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs
  • Better-insulated windows
  • Recycling regularly

Learn more about how commercial buildings conserve energy or talk to an expert today.

Renewable Energy 101


What can renewable energy be used for?

Renewable energy is primarily used for generating electricity or heat. Electricity can be used for for lighting, heating, and cooling. It is also being used for powering automobiles, fleet vehicles and mass transit vehicles. Read about a renewable energy approach for small office buildings.

What are the 4 main sources of nonrenewable energy?

Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear power are the main sources of nonrenewable energy. Learn more about renewable energy technology.