How can my home be energy efficient?

You’ve got a hole in your wallet. It leaks out money every minute of every day all year long and it increases by 2.5 to 3 percent every year. It’s wasted energy.

In the end, conserving energy at home is one of the easiest ways to save money. A lot of very simple steps add up to a decent amount of money saved year after year. The energy savings measures I’ve personally taken save enough to make a car payment each year.

The ways you consume energy based on your geographic location can indicate where to focus your consumption reduction. For example, Florida and other South Atlantic (SoAtl) states consume most energy on appliances and air conditioning, so you may want to invest in an energy-efficient air conditioner. Meanwhile, Wisconsin and other East North Central (ENC) states consume most energy on heating and appliances, so you may want to invest in energy-efficient space heaters.

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Figure 1, courtesy of Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)
Picture1
Figure 2, courtesy of Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)

Ways to reduce energy consumption in your home

 

Refrigeration – Look for Energy Star-rated appliances and how much energy they use. You look at gas mileage when you buy a car, right? The same thing applies to appliances.

Air conditioning – Make sure the air conditioner is Energy Star-rated. Clean the coils on the unit regularly to help it run efficiently. Pull shades to limit the amount of heat from the sun. Consider using ceiling fans whenever possible but don’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room.

Water heating – Install low flow shower heads and aerators to faucets to reduce overall water consumption. Wash only full loads of dishes or clothes.

Lighting – Use LED lights throughout the home. Make it a point to turn off lights when they are not in use.

Small appliances – Always look for the Energy Star label for the most energy-efficient choice. Consider using a laptop as it uses less energy than desktop computers. Turn off coffee pots when not in use and unplug charged electronics when they not actively charging.

Washer and dryer – Try to wash or dry full loads and make sure to keep the filters clean.

Air sealing and insulating – You wouldn’t want to heat or cool the outdoors, would you? Part of your money goes right outside when you have poor insulation and air gaps.  Air sealing (sealing of those gaps) and insulation go hand in hand and areas that are heated or air conditioned.

Smart Thermostat – There are many rebates available to offset the cost of a smart or “learning” thermostat. Studies have shown up to a 10% decrease in heating and cooling costs when used.

For more tips, simply Google “reduce energy consumption at home”- there’s a lot of resources out there. You can also check sites like energystar.gov and energy.gov for articles and research on energy conservation.

By: Dan Williams

Photo courtesy of Pexels.com


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