Being energy efficient does not have to mean costly remodeling or purchases. Rather, smart energy choices can make a big difference on your monthly energy bills. Here are some everyday actions to cut back on energy use, leaving more money for life’s necessities – or for something special.
Heating, Cooling Tips
It’s easy and inexpensive to use caulking, foam sealants and weather-stripping around windows and doors to the outside to seal energy leaks and prevent warmed air in the winter and cooled air in the summer from leaking out. Combined with sufficient insulation for your climate, sealing can cut heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent.
In addition, keep furnace/AC filters clean. At least once a month during the heating and cooling seasons, clean the re-usable ones or discard the disposable ones. They are inexpensive and readily available at hardware and home improvement stores.
And for a modest investment, a properly set programmable thermostat can cut heating and cooling costs by up to 10 percent.
Lights, Appliances, Electronics
One of the simplest ways to save power is remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room and electronics when you are done using them.
In addition, start replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Replacing a 60-watt incandescent with a 13-watt CFL save almost $60 over the CFL’s lifespan of about six-months, even factoring in the CFL’s higher price.
With the proliferation of “must-have” electronics and mobile devices, our homes tend to have an abundance of plugs and outlets. So it’s a good idea to use power strips to plug in a number of related products – such as your computer, monitor, desk lamps, etc. – and plug the power strip into the wall outlet. That allows you to turn everything off with a single switch whenever you go out – and especially when you are going out of town for an extended period of time.
And don’t forget to look for the ENERGY STAR label – the government’s symbol of energy efficiency – when shopping for new appliances and electronics, especially those that use “standby power.” That means the product is still using electricity in the “off” mode to retain programming (such as for digital recording devices) and to keep built-in digital clocks running. ENERGY STAR qualified products use less power in the “off” mode.
Finally, don’t leave charging devices plugged in when your cell phone, IPod, etc., are done charging up. It may save only pennies a day – but why not?
When you will be away from your computer for a significant amount of time, make sure to power off both your computer and its monitor. And remember that laptop computers use significantly less energy than desktop models.
In the winter, let the warmth of the sun heat the rooms on the south and west sides of your home. Then close the shades, blinds and/or curtains when the sun goes down to retain the heat inside. Conversely, in the summer, use simple shades, blinds, etc., inside and/or awnings outside to provide shade and reduce the strain on your air conditioning system – and your budget.
To sum up, being energy efficient does not have to mean investments in big-ticket products and equipment for your home. Indeed, your home is chock full of low-cost and no-cost energy-saving opportunities!
Written by Kissairis Munoz, Alliance To Save Energy
Tags: Alliance to Save Energy, caulking, cfl, energy efficient, ENERGY STAR label, foam sealants, furnace/AC filters, Kissairis Munoz, low budget, power strips, programmable thermostat, smart energy choices, weather-stripping