Building designers strive to optimize the efficiency of the building while also incorporating renewable energy technologies, aiming towards reaching a zero-energy building. Other efforts such as using energy efficient appliances or upgrading insulation can also be made in order to reduce energy costs. In terms of energy generation, there are certain technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) systems that can increase energy efficiency by capturing excess heat to use as a heating or cooling option for nearby buildings. Smart grids are another example that can improve the efficiency of electric generation, distribution, and consumption. Energy efficiency in the transportation sector is also becoming commonplace, where hybrid and electric vehicles require less fuel and have lower emissions to travel the same distance in comparison to a conventional car.
The United States has various energy efficiency incentives and polices in place to encourage consumers and businesses to pursue these technologies. A well-known example is Energy Star, a government-backed symbol used to identify energy efficiency in the United States. An Energy Star label is placed on certified products such as lightbulbs and appliances. It is also commonly used to label tools and resources that can help to manage energy use in buildings and plants, which helps to conserve energy, increase profits, and strengthen competitiveness in the market.