Time and time again residents and businesses are informed about energy efficiency and energy conservation. Both are common buzz words these days, but what exactly does it mean anyway?

According to Environmental Energy Technologies Divisions (EETD), energy efficiency is “using less energy to provide the same service.”

There are other definitions, but this is a good operational one.

The best way to understand this energy efficiency is through examples:

When you replace a single pane window in your house with an energy-efficient one, the new window prevents heat from escaping in the winter and cool air from escaping in the summer. Thus you save energy by running your furnace or air conditioner less.

When you replace an appliance, such as a refrigerator or clothes washer, with a more energy-efficient model, the new equipment provides the same service, but uses less energy. This saves you money on your energy bill, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.

Energy efficiency is not energy conservation.

Energy conservation is “reducing or going without a service to save energy.”

For example: Turning off a light is energy conservation. Replacing an incandescent lamp with a compact fluorescent lamp (which uses much less energy to produce the same amount of light) is energy efficiency.

Both efficiency and conservation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Now that the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation have been defined, you must be eager to practice these concepts at home. Right? Well you are in luck! Ohio Edison is offering free Energy Conservation kits to all residential account customers. Expenses for the kit are paid for through Senate Bill 221 requirements.

Ohio Edison residential customers will be eligible to receive an Energy Conservation kit that includes the following items:

• Four — 60 watt compact fluorescent lights (CLFs)

• Three — 100 watt compact fluorescent lights (CLFs)

• Two — 75 watt compact fluorescent lights (CLFs)

• Two light-emitting diode (LED) night lights.

• One smart strip (a power strip that shuts off other equipment when the master equipment is not in use).

Customers can sign up to receive an Energy Conservation kit by enrolling online at www.ohioenergykit.com or by calling PowerDirect at 888-866-3201.

Customers must have their 12-digit Ohio Edison account number to order.

Keep in mind the costs related to energy efficiency programs are reflected in all customers’ bills — just as the cost of utility poles, transformers, wires and bucket trucks are included in customer bills.

Reducing electricity use by installing energy efficiency measures saves money and energy, and helps delay the need to build costly new power plants.

As for those of you who are not Ohio Edison customers, no need to fret! Although you may not receive a free kit, you can certainly lead by Ohio Edison’s example. Purchase the items listed above at your local hardware store or household store and be certain to conserve your energy at home.