Introduction to Efficiency

Efficiency can be stated as the act of being adequate in performance with a minimum of waste or effort.  For example, an efficient engine runs well while using only a small amount of gasoline.  An efficient worker gets the job done using the minimum amount of time.  

Efficiency can be measured in several way.  These measurements of efficiency, known as efficiency ratings, are useful for monitoring progress.  The efficiency ratings compare the work required with the work accomplished in a meaningful way.  


Improving Efficiency

Efficiency is concerned with the transfer of energy.  Let's consider a very simple system - a hammer driving in a nail.  In this system, we are transferring energy from the hammer to the nail.

Efficient systems have balance between all of the components.

Efficiency can be improved by achieving balance - by matching all of the components in the system.  For example, pumps have to match hydraulic systems and, in the example above, hammers have to match nails.  A small hammer is ineffective at driving in a large nail and vice versa.  The hammer must match the nail in order to provide the most efficient transfer of energy.

Vector forces also contribute to efficiency.  When you swing your hammer to hit a nail, the motion of the hammer is a vector.  When the vector's direction is the same as the nail's direction, the system is very efficient and the nail is driven in.  But if the vector's direction is different from the nail's direction, then the hammer glances off the nail and is not as efficient.  

Vector forces influence the efficiency of a hammer stroke.

Both balance of components and vector forces can be important in the water/wastewater field.