Reducing your energy consumption is easier than you might think. Most of the changes cost little or nothing except for your time and a little effort. It’s a mixed bag really, and we’re ready to spill the beans …
- Die-hard habits – are they worth the cost? Settle for a cool shower in warmer months. Or you can put it no higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (DOE recommends 120 degrees) to save energy. Turn down the thermostat marginally when everyone’s out or while sleeping. Switch off lights in rooms that aren’t being used. Get the kids into this habit, too.
Get used to fresh air. Keep your windows and doors open and make the most of your drapes and blinds to let fresh air and natural light in. You’ll save on lighting and your AC will get a much needed break. If weather permits, keep the windows open at night and turn the AC off. Use the ceiling fans instead to circulate the cool night breezes that flow in through your open windows.
Wait for a full load of laundry. Make economic use of your washing machine by doing full loads and using cold instead of hot water. Since tumble dryers eat up energy, try drying your clothes the old-fashioned way—on a clothes line. You’ll be surprised how fresh they feel and the sun is a good disinfectant, too. Don’t leave your fridge or freezer doors open unnecessarily, and remember to defrost them regularly to maximize efficient usage. Hibernate your computer. Don’t use the screen saver option on your laptop or computer. It uses more energy and reduces the life of your monitor. Instead, turn off your computer or enable the automatic sleep mode.
- Look for Energy Saving Purchases When light bulbs give way, replace them with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs which are a little more expensive, but much more efficient. Even better than that, replace with Ultra Compact LEDs (UCLEDs) which use less energy and last longer than even fluorescent light bulbs and which do not contain any mercury.
Get a programmable thermostat fitted with a timer for your window units. Used judiciously and in conjunction with insulated curtains, you can significantly cut down your energy bills. Insulated curtains help control room temperature. They add an extra layer of protection over your window (usually the leading source of heat loss or exchange in your home), by increasing its R-value. During the warm summer months, they block out the sun’s heat, so you can use less air-conditioning. In winter, they help hold heat in the house, letting you turn the thermostat down.
Consider installing a whole house fan below your attic. In summer, it works best in the mornings and later in the evenings when it’s cooler outside than within the home Install motion sensors for lights not regularly used. Also use timers for security purposes especially when away from home.
Motion and photo sensors installed with outdoor lighting can lend a sense of security and safety, you can ask the assistance of electricians in your locality like ACE Sydney Electricians. Install a thankless water heater which uses much less energy and which will heat the water only as you use it.
- Energy-efficient home improvements Whenever any of your home appliances has to be replaced, always opt for the Energy Star-rated appliance. The walls and roofing of your home are a major cause of warmth escaping from the home. Proper insulation can reduce energy costs. Replace your windows and entry door with energy-efficient windows and doors which, once installed, will pay for themselves over a period of time.
If your roof is in very bad shape, replace it with energy-saving options made of lighter-colored, recycled materials to help reduce energy costs. Also install skylight windows in the roof, to increase the amount of natural light and ventilation.
- Incentives and tax credits There are a variety of incentives, rebates and tax credits, both at federal and state level for energy-efficient products that you can take full advantage.5. Consider switching your energy source Find out which utility company in your area offers green power from renewable sources like solar power instead of the conventional fossil fuel sources and consider switching at least partly to that source.
Go in for solar tubular lighting or for solar panels, if the amount of sunlight your home gets is adequate for their installation. Although up-front costs are high, your energy bills will touch rock bottom soon enough. And you may even be able to sell excess solar power to your utility.
Summary There are heaps of ways, expensive and inexpensive, which you can use to bring down your energy bills. Some are as simple as changing your habits; some may require a little budgeting.
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