Many people see energy saving as a way to go green. This led to the growing popularity of hybrid cars. However, when it comes to greening, charity really starts at home. Most people spend a lot of time in their homes. The house operates 24/7. Compare that to a few hours of driving each day. Increasing home energy use can have a positive impact on the environment and savings.
Potential homeowners can hire specialists to design and build energy-efficient homes for them. Those who already own a home can adapt or upgrade it for greater energy efficiency. The average building relies on various features such as air conditioning to maintain a certain level of comfort. Older homes may not have so many alternatives when they are being built. Older homes need upgrading while new ones can be adapted for energy savings. After all, home improvement should be done with a long term perspective.
1. Living Room
Consider reducing the size of the living space. This can be done by dividing the larger house in such a way that it accommodates several households. Close unused rooms and grow a household to fit the available space.
This can be done on both new and old homes. Homeowners with older homes can insulate from the inside while those with newer homes can insulate from the outside. Apply insulation consistently throughout the home to maximize insulation effectiveness. For example wall insulation with windows open is not effective. In such situations, use foam board insulation instead of structural plywood. Foam board insulation sheathing performs insulation and humidity control.
3. Air Leakage
Cover all areas and make sure the house is airtight. This is not a venture that many homeowners successfully implement. Consider hiring a specialist for this job. Close all windows and doors that allow air to enter the house. One way to check for leaks is to hold the tape close to the edge of a door or window. If the tape flutters, there is a leak and heat is escaping.
Consider installing quality windows. Some of the window options available to homeowners include low emissivity glazed windows and argon filled double or triple glazed windows. These can be obtained from building supply stores. If possible, reduce the size of the windows to reduce air loss and warm the house during the winter.
In many areas across the US, people can easily predict the sun’s location throughout the day. Those with homes in areas with a tropical climate might consider planting trees to shade their homes during the hottest hours of the day. Those with homes in cold winter areas can plant deciduous trees (foliage shields). Such a tree will protect the house during the hot season.
Purchase and install energy efficient appliances including water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. Look for appliances with energy saving labels including tankless water heaters, condensing furnaces and SEER air conditioners.
7. Electrical load
Overcome the electrical load at home. Find appliances that are taxing your home’s electricity usage. Determine when to turn off the equipment, especially when not needed.
8. Neon Lighting
Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent lamps. Homeowners who haven’t had experience with fluorescent lighting should give it a try. The technology for making fluorescent lamps is constantly improving. Those who don’t want to ditch incandescent bulbs entirely can have a mix of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs in their homes. Both types of bulbs can provide beautiful lighting in a home.
9. Washing Machine
Consider buying an energy efficient washing machine. Some options for homeowners are the Energy Star horizontal axle and front load washer. Both help to significantly reduce water and energy loss. Homeowners should ensure that they purchase a washing machine with a good Energy Star rating.
Air dry laundry. This method makes clothes last longer and reduces the energy requirements of the home. Use an indoor drying rack in colder climates or during winter. Those who live in places with warmer climates can dry their clothes. This helps keep clothes fresh and eliminates the need for ironing.
Technologies such as home solar panels, gas turbine cogeneration and home windmills generate energy for many homes. Some people generate enough energy for household use and even sell it back into the electricity grid. These technologies are expensive but they pay off through reduced energy bills.
12. Tool Maintenance
Consider changing or cleaning the heater filter every month or so. A dirty air filter blocks airflow, which increases heating costs. In addition, service the furnace annually during the fall. Homeowners should consider having a technician inspect, adjust, and lubricate their furnace. This will help save on heating costs.
13. Bath time
While this may seem like an extreme measure, many people think they are taking a quick shower when they are actually using gallons of water and taking longer showers than they think. Hot showers have to be heated. This can result in large energy consumption for most families. By setting a timer, people save water and energy.
Adjust the water temperature in the heater. Temperature adjustment can be done using a thermostat. Setting the temperature around 120 degrees would not use up too much energy and still allow one to enjoy a nice hot bath.
14. Eliminate ghost burdens
Phantom load is energy drawn to an electronic device that is plugged into a socket even when the device is turned off. This is also known as the vampire burden. People with appliances plugged in all the time such as TVs, computers and cell phone chargers probably lose a lot of energy each month. Unplug all equipment that is not used immediately.
15. Buy a Power Strip
One way to get rid of the phantom load is to buy a power strip with a surge protector. Power strips allow people to turn off equipment that is not in use.
Energy conservation helps people save a lot of money on their energy bills. However, this is not the only incentive to save energy. Saving energy preserves the planet and reduces the impact of global climate change, which is a reality.