Energy Efficiency Technology Options

In developing a comprehensive tribal energy plan, the first place to start is ways to reduce existing and future loads through focused attention on energy efficiency and energy conservation techniques and technologies. Whether considering a residential, commercial, or industrial facility, there are nearly always ways to cost-effectively reduce annual energy use and the associated costs of purchasing energy from the suppliers. The cost of energy continues to rise, and thanks to a number of significant technological advances since most facilities were originally constructed, reducing energy use can often be quick and relatively inexpensive. Many energy efficiency measures can pay for themselves in only a few years, saving large amounts of money during the remaining useful life of the facility.

The terms energy efficiency and energy conservation are essentially synonymous. However, the recent historical (1970s and 1980s) use of the term conservation is often equated to "freezing in the dark" or doing without. Therefore, this Guide will primarily use the term energy efficiency.

You will find a wealth of information on modern energy efficiency practices and links to many useful Web sites in the Energy Efficiency Technology Basics section of this Guide. Most of this information is related to energy efficiency in buildings (both residential and commercial) as those are the major loads in most tribes. There are also significant energy efficiency opportunities in many industrial facilities. For more information on those opportunities, see the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program Web site.