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12.3: Energy Conservation

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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How much energy can you save?

By turning off the lights, keeping rooms at a reasonable temperature in summer and winter, driving a fuel-efficient car or taking the bus, and many other things, society can save a lot of energy. By saving energy we reduce the financial and environmental costs of collecting that energy, and the pollution and greenhouse gases that come from using that energy. In all, it's a win-win situation!

Energy Conservation

What benefits are there from energy conservation? Conserving energy means that less energy is needed, which reduces costs, ensures that non-renewable energy sources will last longer, and reduces political and environmental impacts.

What are the two ways that energy can be conserved? (1) Use less energy, and (2) use energy more efficiently.

The pie chart (Figure below) shows how energy is used in the United States.

Graph of energy use in the United States

Almost one-half of the energy used in the United States is for transportation and home use. This means individual choices can make a big impact on energy conservation.

Table below shows some ways that people can decrease energy use and use energy more efficiently in transportation, residences, industries, and office settings.

Ways to Use Energy More Efficiently
Where Energy is Used How We Can Use Less Energy How We Can Use Energy More Efficiently

Ride a bike or walk instead of taking a car.

Reduce the number of trips you make.

Use public transportation.

Increase fuel efficiency in cars.

Buy and drive smaller cars.

Build cars from lighter and stronger materials.

Drive at speeds at or below 90 kilometers per hour (55 miles per hour).


Turn off lights when not in a room.

Only run appliances when necessary.

Unplug appliances when not in use.

Wear a sweater instead of turning up heat.

Use fans instead of turning down air conditioner.

Engage in activities that do not involve electronics.

Rely on sunlight instead of artificial light.

Replace old appliances with newer more efficient models.

Insulate your home.

Make sure windows and doors are well sealed.

Use LED bulbs if available, or compact fluorescent light bulbs (and dispose of properly!).


Recycle materials like soda cans and steel.

Reduce use of plastic, paper, and metal materials.

Practice conservation in factories.

Reuse materials.

Design equipment to be more efficient.

Commercial (businesses, shopping areas, etc.) Turn off appliances and equipment when not in use.

Use fluorescent lighting.

Set thermostats to automatically turn off heat or air conditioning when buildings are closed.

Using less energy, or using energy more efficiently, will help conserve our energy resources. Since many of the energy resources we depend upon are non-renewable, we need to make sure that we waste them as little as possible.


  • Conserving energy is is cleaner and cheaper than finding new energy.
  • To conserve energy, use less energy and be more efficient about the energy you use.
  • There are many ways to conserve energy in your own life, such as walking or taking the bus, wearing a sweater instead of turning up the heat, etc.


  1. Why is conservation the best way to stretch our energy resources?
  2. List some ways that society can conserve energy.
  3. List some ways that you and the other members of your household can conserve energy.

Explore More

Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

  1. What will the population be in 2030?
  2. How much will our energy demands increase by 2030? How much will that elevate global carbon dioxide emissions if this demand is met by fossil fuels?
  3. What is the single most important source of future energy?
  4. What is energy efficiency?
  5. How can industries optimize their energy efficiency?
  6. What can be done to make vehicles more efficient?
  7. How can we make our homes more energy efficient?
  8. How effective can using energy efficiently be?

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
Date Created:
Feb 24, 2012
Last Modified:
Aug 21, 2016
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