Go Green, save energy, save the environment- you read about this everywhere, banners, posters, television. And forget about it. You think, saving energy is for others. But with the growing energy crisis, environmental pollution and erratic climates, it is high time each one of us takes it to heart and pledges to save the environment by saving energy. Every step you take will make a difference. Start by making your home energy efficient. It also helps you save money by cutting down the energy bills. Here are some ways you can start-
Switch off and unplug: Switching off the lights and appliances and gadgets when not in use may sound very simple, but that is a habit we need to seriously cultivate. Unplug the devices to save more energy. Neglecting this costs a US household approximately $ 100 a year. Also use daylight whenever possible.
Thermostat: Install a programmable thermostat to control the heating and cooling systems of your home and lower the thermostat of your water heater to 120 0 F.
Home appliances and light bulbs: Replace all old appliances like refrigerators, ovens, washing machines with latest energy efficient models. Buy products with the Energy Star label. They are energy efficient and meet the guidelines set by U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Department of Energy. Lighting consumes 10 percent of the energy in your home. Using energy efficient LED lamps can save energy. You also save money because they last longer and don’t need to be replaced often. Regular maintenance of the air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps will also help save energy.
Water heating: About 14 to 25 % of energy is consumed by water heating and it amounts to almost 12 % of the home utility bills. By reducing the water temperature to 120 0 F, you can save considerable energy. Insulating the pipes connecting the water heater will prevent heat loss and again save energy. Use cold water for washing clothes and dishwashing and wash only full loads to save water too.
Air leakages: The most overlooked and underestimated aspect is the loss of energy through gaps in windows, doors, recessed lightings, HVAC ducts etc. in your home. Air sealing and proper insulation will cut down the loss of energy and put less strain on the heating and cooling systems. Cutting down the energy consumption will bring down your energy bills significantly. Another important thing you can do is to replace your old windows with energy efficient windows. Energy Star rated windows like Champion windows come with excellent air sealing and insulation. These windows are double paned and have special energy efficient glass which helps to keep the heat out in summer and heat in during winter. This automatically reduces the energy used for heating and cooling. The glass not only lets in more light but also protects your interior from harmful ultraviolet rays which can damage the curtains and upholstery.
While it is possible for you to follow most of the steps on your own, getting a home energy audit to thoroughly assess the leakages and the loss of energy in your home as a whole will be extremely beneficial. The auditor will inspect every part of your home, assess the energy usage of your appliances and analyze your energy bills. He will then suggest the necessary changes and upgrades you have to do to make your home energy efficient. You can then be sure that the money you are investing now will help you save money later in energy bills.
An energy efficient home is a comfortable and healthy home. Making your energy efficient is no more an option. It is a duty and responsibility every person has to take. See that you use every resource water, electricity and even food carefully.