22” wheel require less energy
A 26 wheel covers 207,47078 cm in a turn.
A 22 wheel covers 175,5522 cm in a turn.
The relation between these distances is 1,1818182 (which is the same as 26/22 of course).
In a single chainring turn, a 26 bike with a gear relation 1:1 will cover the same distance as a 22 bike with a gear relation 1,1818182:1.
Smaller wheels are said to accelerate faster. Thus the 22 will cover the distance on a shorter time if pedals are pushed with the same force (intensity) than the 26. In case this is true, to cover the same distance in the same time, the 22 requires less energy. Is this correct?