Energy saving mechanisms are ubiquitous in nature. Aerodynamic and hydrodynamic drafting, vortice uplift, Bernoulli suction, thermoregulatory coupling, path following, physical hooks, synchronization, and cooperation are only some of the better-known examples. While drafting mechanisms also appear in non-biological systems such as sedimentation and particle vortices, the broad spectrum of these mechanisms appears more diversely in biological systems that include bacteria, spermatozoa, various aquatic species, birds, land animals, semi-fluid dwellers like turtle hatchlings, as well as human systems. We present the thermodynamic framework for energy saving mechanisms, and we review evidence in favor of the variation range hypothesis. This hypothesis posits that, as an evolutionary process, the variation range between strongest and weakest group members converges on the equivalent energy saving quantity that is generated by the energy saving mechanism. We also review self-organized structures that emerge due to energy saving mechanisms, including convective processes that can be observed in many systems over both short and long time scales, as well as high collective output processes in which a form of collective position locking occurs. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.