- Green Technology
25 Ways to Save Energy
Energy Efficient Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
There is no denying that times are tough and we are all wondering how to save a few extra dollars here and there. Saving energy should be and probably is at the top of everyone's list these days, particularly with fuel prices at record highs. Here is a quick list of 25 things that homeowners can do to save energy costs, as well as go green at the same time. When you cut down on the amount you spend on your gas and electricity bill, you also help reduce your carbon footprint and the plant breathes easier. It's a win-win for all involved.
1. Add an extra layer of insulation to the attic and/or crawl space of your house, under floors and next to basement walls. Have it inspected annually to make sure that it is evenly distributed so that it does its job.
2. Caulk or seal all cracks and seams. Add weather stripping around all windows and doors. Estimates are that you can save up to 30% on your heating or cooling bills.
3. Install an adjustable thermostat. Program it so that the temperature is lower during the winter (or higher during the summer) during hours you are not home. About one hour before you are expected to return, set the thermostat to the desired temperature. For winter, 68 degrees F should be comfortable. For summer, aim for 75 degrees F.
4. Add landscaping around your home to provide shade from hot summer sun and harsh winter wind. Consider areas that are most exposed to the elements and plant fast growing native trees. You may also wish to reconsider patios on the south or west sides of the home as they are reflective and will increase temperatures in the home during summer seasons.
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4. Dry your clothes on a clothesline. Provided your homeowners association doesn't disallow the practice, you can save up to 50 cents per load by drying out in the sunshine! The clothes dryer is the third most energy-depleting appliance in your home, after the refrigerator and the washing machine. Give it a break, save some money and also release a little less CO2 into the atmosphere.
5. Humidify your home to make it feel warmer during the winter. In your main living area, run a humidifier using filtered water.
6. De-humidify your home during the summer to make it more comfortable. Some portable A/C units have de-humidifying options to allow you to take excess moisture out of the air.
7. Raise blinds to allow sun to shine in on the south and west sides of your home during the winter. Radiant heat will help warm the rooms.
8. Open windows early in the morning to let cool morning air in during the summer. Just be sure to close them before the temperature starts rising.
9. Close vents and doors to unused rooms of your home (i.e. guest rooms). You'll spend less on heating and cooling costs.
10. Insulate pipes. Again, you will save money on costs to heat your water, up to 35% off your natural gas or electric bill.
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11. Install energy efficient doors and windows. This will further cut down on leaks that drain the heat or cooling from your home.
12. Clean and inspect your furnace and ducts before winter. While you are at it, put in a fresh air filter each year.
13. Purchase and use rechargeable batteries. When stored in the refrigerator, rechargeable batteries can last over 1,000 charges, saving you $80/year- even after their initial price tag. Moreover, they can be recycled. Do not trash them!
14. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFS). Each light bulb can save $30 in electricity costs over its lifetime, as well as 2000 times its weight in greenhouse gases. They use 75% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs! There is really no easier way to make a small change with a big impact.
15. Unplug all appliances that are not in use (i.e. coffee makers, toasters, cell phone chargers, tvs, etc.). Alternatively, plug into a power strip and then flip off the power with a single switch when you leave.
16. Shut your computer down when done using it - do not just put it in "sleep" mode. Phantom loads such as those wasted by consumers paying for devices that are plugged in but not in use total 5% of the United State's electricity load each year!
17. When buying new appliances, choose models with the lowest standby power consumption.
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18. Replace your gas-powered lawnmower with a push-reel model. Its not only great for the environment, but you'll save at the pump and get some great exercise!
19. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F.
20. Vacuum registers and vents to keep the air flowing freely. Blockages can keep your house either too cool or too hot, depending on the season.
21. Close curtains and blinds during the day while you are away to keep temperature relatively constant. Closing them at night will also help trap warm air inside during winter.
22. Install a water-saving shower head. A family of four can save up to $250 a year on the water bill! Water pressure will not be affected.
23. Only run the dishwasher with full loads and use the air-dry cycle (no heat).
24. Wash clothes in warm or cold water; only use the hot cycle for very dirty loads. Of course, wait to run the wash until you have a full load.
25. Turn off lights when not in use; consider using dimmer switches and/or motion detectors so that you use only the amount of light required for the task, when it is required.
There are many, many more ways to cut energy costs around the home. The 25 items in this list are among the practices that we have instituted in the past year or two (and some to which we have always adhered). Let's grow this list to 50 ways to save energy - or more! I would love to read your comments of additional ways to save energy. Please share below.