Conserving energy is important because using non-renewable energy sources has a detrimental impact on the environment. The total effect of these environmental changes has led to global warming at a level that threatens the long-term stability of life, according to National Geographic.
People use non-renewable sources of energy almost every day. When lights, appliances and electric heating and cooling devices are powered using electricity that comes from coal-fired power plants, the resulting emissions harm the surrounding air quality. Gasoline burned by vehicles sends pollutants into the air. Conserving energy by using less electricity and minimizing the use of gas-burning transportation leads to fewer toxins entering the environment. It also reduces demand for the use of non-renewable energy.
It is impossible to reduce energy consumption to zero because of the lifestyle needs that people have in modern society. However, converting from non-renewable energy sources to renewable ones reduces the negative impact of energy consumption on the environment. Electricity that comes from solar panels or wind turbines does not release toxic emissions into the atmosphere. Changing from gas-powered to electric-powered vehicles or gas-electric hybrids also reduces harmful emissions and contributes to higher air quality. These conservation measures can help to slow the trend of global warming.
Definitions of energy conservation vary, but all of them include avoiding the use of electricity when it is not needed. Many people get in the habit of leaving the lights on when they leave a room; turning them off is a form of energy conservation. Some people fall asleep with the television on, wasting electricity. Using the sleep button, which turns the television off after they have fallen asleep, reduces total energy usage.
Heating and cooling account for a significant amount of the energy people use. Opening the windows to let light in instead of using electrically powered lighting is a form of energy conservation. Similarly, wearing warm clothing and turning the heating down a bit can lead to lower energy use.
Some people view energy efficiency as a form of energy conservation, but this usage is not accepted by all. However, the two concepts are related. Installing better insulation, for example, allows homeowners to run their heating and cooling systems less, which is a form of energy conservation by way of better energy efficiency.