What is energy conservation? Definition and examples

Energy conservation is the practice of using less energy. It is achieved by adjusting behaviors and habits. 

Examples of energy conservation include turning off the lights when leaving a room and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use.

It is important to note that “energy conservation” and “energy efficiency” have two distinct meanings. 

According to the The US Energy Information Administration:

Energy efficiency is using technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. Using a light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb or a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb that requires less energy than an incandescent light bulb to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency.”


Energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. Turning the lights off when leaving the room and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy.”

There are countless reasons why people, organizations, or governments choose to conserve energy – from cutting costs to promoting economic, political and environmental sustainability.  For businesses, energy conservation can help increase efficiency and maximize profit.

Role in preventing climate change

Energy conservation helps prevent climate change by reducing emissions. Most of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels, such as petroleum and coal. These are non-renewable, finite resources that will eventually run out. The burning of fossil fuels by humans is the largest source of emissions of carbon dioxide. Energy conservation curbs demand for electric power and delays the need for new power generating.

A means of coping with an increasing world population

The demand for energy in the world is set to increase as population rises, countries become more industrialized, more homes and offices are built, and farming expands. This can be addressed by increasing the supply of energy or reducing the demand. As the supply of energy is limited, it is imperative to introduce measures that reduce the demand of energy. The simplest way to achieve this is by conservation and wise use of energy available.

Examples of energy conservation

  • Washing laundry in cold water instead of hot.
  • Walking, biking or using public transport instead of driving.
  • Using fans to cool off in the summer instead of turning the AC on.
  • Using the correct size burner for your cooking pan.
  • Turning off appliances, such as computers and TVs, when they are not in use.