Conserving Energy for Green Living
Conserving energy, just like all the other aspects of green living is a combination of changing wasteful habits, creating new green habits, and utilizing new energy saving technologies that are available today. So mom was right when she told us to turn the lights out when we leave the room!
The average household spends almost $2,000 per year on energy costs. Much of that is wasted. The good news is that we can each do something every day to reduce our energy use – some small steps and some pretty big steps. It all contributes to green living.
This chart from the U.S. Department of Energy shows where the typical household uses their energy.
This is a great starting point for your plan for conserving energy.
In addition to saving money, reducing our energy use has a major impact on our environment. Producing the electricity used by the average home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than 2 average cars.
Conserving energy is really easy – and does not necessarily require a large investment…and when you do invest, the payback is quick.
Let’s start with some simple energy saving tips:
-Turning out lights. Sounds simple…but it makes a difference. Don’t light rooms you are not using.
-Use power strips for your home electronics. Not only will they help protect your electronics from power surges, it makes it easy to turn off the power eliminating the small amounts of power they use even when off. 2 television sets using 5 watts of standby power all the hours they are not in use during the day adds up!
-Plan your trips to the refrigerator. Your refrigerator is the biggest energy using appliance – and every minute the door is open equals dollars and electricity being wasted. This is a tough one with kids in the house…but it is an important habit to develop.
-Don’t heat and cool the whole house if you’re not using the whole house. Big dollars at stake here! Over 40% of your energy usage is in heating and cooling, so every hour the unit is off saves big.
-Take shorter showers, fill the washing machine and fill the dishwasher. Heating water is another 12% of your usage. Eliminating a load a week for both the washing machine and dishwasher can save you $100 per year.
-Wash a load of clothes in cold water. We often set the dial to warm or hot out of habit…when a cold batch will work just fine.
-Change your air filters regularly. If you have pets or live in a dusty area change more often than the filter recommendations.
-Keep your windows clean in the winter to allow in as much natural warmth as possible.
Now let’s get more serious…and use some new (and not so new) technologies for conserving energy.
-Plant some trees. Properly located trees can save up to 30% of your heating and cooling costs.
-Replace your old incandescent light bulbs with new compact fluorescent light bulbs (the “squiggly” kind). These use 75% less electricity and last about 10 times as long. Easy, painless and a quick payback.
-Replace an old appliance with an Energy Star efficient appliance.
-Replace your single pane windows with Energy Star double pain windows.
-Install weather stripping around your doors.
-Apply caulking around your windows.
-Purchase an energy efficient space heater.
-Install a ductless air conditioner for your most used rooms.
-Install a programmable thermostat.
-Install an attic fan.
-Add insulation to your attic.
Making the commitment to conserving energy will reduce your carbon footprint, save you money today, and increase your home’s resale value. It is an investment that simply makes sense.
Learn about saving money with energy saving trees here
Learn about conserving energy by conserving water
Learn about conserving energy with efficient lighting here
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