Efficiency is avoiding a waste of time, effort, or resources. Many people have begun to use compact fluorescent light bulbs because of their greater energy efficiency.
Nowadays, efficiency often refers to energy efficiency, the effort to get more energy from existing resources: making cars that can go farther with less fuel, or appliances that do the same work with less electricity. But this noun isn't restricted to an environmental context. Efficiency can also simply be a measurement of what goes into a thing versus what comes out of it. A process with high efficiency requires only a little work to produce big results.