Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Within the context of sustainable design, energy efficiency is regarded as an important key to reducing fossil fuel use by improving the energy performance of equipment and appliances, buildings, and municipal infrastructure. Many energy experts today regard continued dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas to be unsustainable because supplies are not limitless and combustion of fossil fuels results in a variety of negative environmental impacts including air and water pollution and significant carbon dioxide emissions. Energy efficiency describes the rate at which energy is used to accomplish a particular task (e.g., the miles that a car can travel per gallon of gasoline). Improving energy efficiency means getting more work from the same or less energy input. A hybrid sedan is more energy efficient than a large pick-up truck because it will travel farther on the same amount of gas. Improvement of energy efficiency has traditionally been considered a production ...