Many people are looking into conserving energy as a way of going green. This has led to the increasing popularity of hybrid cars. However, when it comes to going green, charity really does begin at home. Most people spend a significant amount of time in their homes. Homes run 24/7. Contrast that with a few hours put to driving every day. Improving a home’s energy use can have a positive impact on the environment and savings.
Potential homeowners can hire specialists to design and build energy efficient homes for them. Those who already have homes can adjust or upgrade them for greater energy efficiency. The average building relies on various features like air conditioning to maintain certain comfort levels. Older homes probably did not have so many alternatives when they were being constructed. Older homes need to be upgraded while new one can be adjusted for energy conservation. In any case, home improvements should be made with a long-term perspective.
1. The Living Room
Consider reducing the size of the living space. This can be done by subdividing larger homes in such a way that they accommodate several households. Close off rooms that are not in use and grow the household to fit into available space.
This can be done on new and older homes. Homeowners with older houses can insulate from the inside while those with newer homes can insulate from the outside. Apply the insulation consistently throughout the house to maximize the effectiveness of the insulation. For instance insulating a wall with an open window is not effective. In such a situation, use foam board insulation instead of the structural plywood. Foam board insulation sheathing does insulation and moisture control.
3. Air Leaks
Cover all areas and ensure that the home is airtight. This is not an undertaking that many homeowners can successfully implement. Consider hiring a specialist for this job. Seal all windows and doors allowing air inside a house. One way to check for leaks is by holding a ribbon near the edge of a door or window. If the ribbon flutters, then there is a leak and heat is getting out.
Consider installing quality windows. Some of the window options available to homeowners include low emissivity coated windows and argon filled double or triple glazed windows. These can be obtained from a buildings supply store. If possible, reduce the size of the windows to reduce air loss and warm the house during winter.
In many regions throughout the U.S, people can easily predict the location of the sun throughout the day. Those with homes in areas with tropical climates may consider planting trees to shade their homes during the hottest hours of the day. Those with homes in wintry areas can plant deciduous (leaf shading) trees. Such trees will protect the house during summer.
Buy and install energy saving appliances including water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. Look for appliances with energy efficient labels including tankless water heaters, condensing furnaces and SEER air conditioners.
7. Electric loads
Address electric loads in the house. Find appliances that put a strain on electricity use in the house. Determine when to switch off such appliances especially when they are not needed.
8. Fluorescent Lighting
Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Homeowners who have not had any experience with fluorescent lighting should give it a chance. The technology for making fluorescent bulbs is continually improving. Those who do not want to get rid of their incandescent bulbs completely can have a mix of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs in their homes. The two types of bulbs can deliver beautiful lighting in a home.
9. Washing Machine
Consider buying energy efficient washing machines. Some of the options for homeowners are the Energy Star horizontal-axis and front-loading washers. The two help to reduce water and energy loss significantly. Homeowners should ensure that they buy washing machines with good Energy Star ratings.
Air dry laundry. This method makes clothes to last and reduce a house’s energy demands. Use indoor drying racks in colder climates or during winter. Those who live in places with warmer climates can line dry their clothes. This helps to keep the clothes fresh and eliminates the need for ironing.
Various technologies such as home solar panels, gas turbine cogeneration and home windmills create energy for many homes. Some people produce enough energy for domestic use and even sale back to the power grid. These technologies are expensive but they pay up through reduced energy bills.
12. Appliance Maintenance
Consider changing or cleaning heating filters every month or so. Dirty air filters obstruct airflow, which raises heating costs. In addition, service the furnace each year during fall. Homeowners should consider having a technician check, adjust and lubricate their furnaces. This will help save on heating expenses.
13. Time showers
Though this may seem like an extreme measure, many people think they take short showers when in fact they use gallons of water and stay in showers longer than they think. Hot water showers have to be heated. This can result in substantial energy consumption for most families. By setting timers, people save water and energy.
Adjust the temperature of water in the heater. The temperature adjustment can be done using a thermostat. Setting the temperature at around 120 degrees will not use too much energy and would still allow an individual to enjoy a nice hot shower.
14. Eliminate phantom load
Phantom load is the energy that is pulled into electronic devices plugged into sockets even when the devices are turned off. It is also known as vampire load. People with appliances that are plugged in all the time such as TVs, computers and cell phone chargers may be losing a lot of energy every month. Unplug all appliances that are not in immediate use.
15. Purchase a Power Strip
One way of eliminating phantom load is by purchasing a power strip with surge protection. Power strips allows people to turn off appliances that are not in use.
Energy conservation helps people save a lot of money on their energy bills. However, this is not the only incentive for conserving energy. Saving energy conserves the planet and reduces the effects of global climate change, which are a reality.