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Energy Conservation in modern houses: Importance and Tips

Updated on May 13, 2013

Energy is one of the most concerned topics of modern civilization. We are more concerned about saving energy now than ever. To survive as a race of species, energy conservation is a crucial step. In every aspect of our lives we need to be careful about the way and the amount of energy we use since we are facing global crisis in different energy sources, particularly the non-renewable ones which are still our major source of energy.

Importance of Energy Conservation:

Why is so important to think about energy conservation? It was not even a concern thirty years ago. The answer lies in the increasing rate of energy consumption. The rate of energy consumption has increased dramatically in past thirty years in all sectors of modern civilization, of which a descent share is consumed in houses. This enormous use of energy is resulting in the reduction of natural mineral sources, such as oil, coal, gas etc. Day by day our need for energy is increasing. In warmer climate electricity is more used for cooling and less natural resources for heating, on the other hand the opposite is true for colder climate. Based on 6.3ºF to 9ºF temperature increase, climate could increase the need for additional electricity generation capacity 10-20% by 2050. This will require billions of dollars in investment.

Also, mass energy production requires more natural resources. Mineral depletion at such a rate is causing a negative impact on the environment. Constant oil and gas depletion leads to frequent earthquake. Use of fossil fuel for energy production contributes in increasing carbon-di-oxide into the atmosphere which is the main reason of global warming. Sea level rise, storm surge and extreme climate are the by-products of it. If this continues, it will be very hard to survive in the earth’s atmosphere.

Tips to energy conservation in the houses:

So all these problems bring us to the matter of how to be more energy conservative and thus become environment friendly. We use a huge amount of energy in our day to day life. Being a bit conscious can lead to saving a lot of energy in our houses as well as reducing the electric bills. Here are some easy but useful points which we tend to forget to apply:

Three main points to remember:

  1. Shifting electricity use to off-pick hours.
  2. Unplugging electronic devices which are not in use.
  3. Choosing energy-efficient products.

Useful tips:

Heating and cooling

Heating and cooling is responsible for about 60% of the energy costs of an average home.

Tips for winter period:

  • Installing a programmable thermostat with a built-in timer. It can be set to lower the heat a few degrees at night and when the house is empty.
  • Checking for drafts and leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping are simple and inexpensive ways of preventing heat from escaping.
  • Cleaning the air filter of the furnace regularly improves performance.

Tips for summer period:

  • Avoiding running air conditioner for longer period on weekdays as much as possible. Combined use of fan and air conditioner is a good idea.
  • Using timers for operating swimming pool pumps, filters and heaters during off-peak hours. Using solar blankets for pools is a good strategy.

Water heater

Water heaters use up most of the energy at home after heating and cooling.

Tips for water heaters:

  • Wrapping the electric hot water tank and pipes in special tank blanket which help to retain heat.
  • Using the ‘vacation’ setting or turning off the water heater when out of town.
  • Draining a pail of water from the natural gas hot water tank regularly to remove sediment contributing to the prevention of efficient heat transfer.
  • Fixing leaky faucets and installing low flow aerators to save water and energy.

Home appliances

Tips for Refrigerator:

  • Setting the temperature no lower than actually needed to.
  • Avoiding overfilling the refrigerators so that air circulation does not get blocked.
  • Checking the refrigerator door’s seal carefully.
  • Cleaning refrigerator’s coils and air intake grill regularly.
  • Keeping refrigerators and freezers out of direct sunlight and allowing at least five centimetres of space all around for heat to escape from the compressor and condensing coil.

It is always a good idea to buy ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerators with auto defrost capability. Otherwise it is necessary to manually defrost the refrigerator regularly.

Tips for Stove/Oven:

  • Using an electric kettle to boil water is better than using the stove.
  • Not using a bigger pot than what is needed.
  • Making sure that the circulation holes of the stove or oven are not blocked.

Tips for Dishwasher:

  • Shifting dishwasher use to off-peak hours where possible.
  • Trying to use with full load and using the air-dry setting.
  • Cleaning drains and filters regularly for ensuring efficient operation.

Buying an ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher is better as it is more efficient than normal models.

Clothes washer and dryer:

Tips for washer:

  • Adjusting water level setting according to the load. Running full loads when possible and not to overload the washer.
  • Washing clothes in cold or warm water. Using hot water consumes more energy.

Tips for dryer:

  • Considering using clothesline or drying rack in summer period to avoid the cost of dryer totally.
  • Ensuring the clothes are effectively wrung before putting them into the dryer.
  • Separating items into heavy, medium and lightweight helps a lot as lighter loads take less drying time than a mixture of items.
  • Cleaning the lint trap after every load increases efficiency of the machine.

Considering an ENERGY STAR-qualified washer is better as it takes less water and energy. Front-loading washers cost a bit more than the conventional washers but it uses half the water per load than conventional machine and also more effective at squeezing water out of the laundry which helps to reduce dryer use.

Lighting

Tips for using lighting:

  • Turning off the lights when leaving home.
  • Replacing normal bulbs with power saving lights is better.
  • Installing motion sensor for outside lighting which helps the light turn on and off as needed.

Energy conservation is a dire need of the present time. In order to ensure a better future for the upcoming generations we have to be more responsible and conscious. I hope this article helps to realize the importance of energy conservation and provide a few guidelines to help save some of the energy we unnecessarily in our everyday life.

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      Siliconsolar 4 years ago

      It is surprisingly easy to convert your home to using sustainable forms of electricity. I think these tips are great for using appliances more efficiently. If you are looking to replace or switch your home's water heater, there are solar-powered water heating systems available at affordable prices from companies like Silicon Solar (http://www.siliconsolar.com/). The website also offers solar panels for on and off-grid use to convert your home's electricity source from fossil fuels to renewable energy from the sun. There are numerous federal financial incentives (and many state incentives) for encouraging residences and businesses to convert to renewable energy sources, such as solar water heaters/panels.