Think Smart about Energy Efficiency

Family room

There are quite a few ways you can save energy in your home. Lighting, climate control, water, and electronic use all play a part in your home’s energy usage. Changing these sectors of energy even slightly can have an impact on your monthly energy bill. Even changing the way you drive your car affects your monthly energy expenses. We’ll explore several of these energy sectors and show you how to get the most out of your energy.

  • Lights
    • Turning off lights any time you leave a room is a good practice, especially when you have incandescent, halogen, or LED bulbs. These lights are instant on and off, so as soon as you flip the switch they come on. CFLs need a warmup time to reach full brightness, and if you will be turning the light back on within 15 minutes, leave it on. Constant cycling of these bulbs also reduces their longevity.
    • Incandescent bulbs are very inefficient. Halogens are a little better, but CFLs and LEDs are the most efficient, about 80% better than incandescents.
  • Electronics
    • With computers, turn off the monitor if you will be away from the computer for more than 20 minutes. Turn off the whole computer if you will be away from it for more than 2 hours.
    • Screensavers don’t reduce energy usage, they only prevent burn-in on your screen (leaving an image on the screen, even when you change the image). Turning your monitor off or putting it in a sleep mode is the only way to save energy.
    • Unplug electronic devices and plugs like DVD players, game systems, laptop chargers, phone chargers, and tablet chargers. These constantly drain power even if the device is off or disconnected from its charger.
  • Water
    • Fix leaks in your faucets and pipes to prevent water and energy loss. Insulating pipes will also reduce energy loss for hot water, as the heat is radiate through the pipe as it travels to its destination.
    • If your shower takes less than 20 second to fill a 1 gallon container, a low flow shower head will reduce water and energy use for you. Ideally, you want a shower head that has a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm.
    • Likewise, you can reduce the flow rate of faucets by changing the aerators to ones that have a flow less than 1 gpm.
    • Lower the temperature on your water heater from the factory setting 140°F to 120°F.
    • Use shorter cycles on your clothes washers, as well as cooler water. If you have several loads to do, do them all at once to reduce the amount of heat the washer and dryer need to build up.
    • Only run full loads for clothes and dishwashers.
  • Climate Control
    • Use a programmable thermostat to help regulate heat and air conditioner use at home. Set the thermostat to turn the system off while you are away from home and during the overnight hours.
    • Ensure all of the ducts in your home are sealed so that you are not losing climate controlled air before it comes through your vents.
    • Similarly, make sure that doors leading outside and all windows have weatherstripping to seal any possible gaps where air could escape. This can drastically crank up your energy bill.
    • Close the curtains or shades for windows facing the sun during the day in the summer. This will help reduce the solar heat gain. In the winter, make sure these windows are not obstructed to gather as much solar heat as possible.
  • Vehicles
    • Regular maintenance is not only good for your car, it reduces the amount of fuel consumed in many cases. Keeping the tires well pumped, regular oil and filter changes, air filter changes, and other maintenance can improve gas mileage.
    • Keep vehicle weight to a minimum. Stocking your vehicle with heavy objects like bags of soil reduce the fuel efficiency.
    • Combine several errands into a single trip rather than several trips over a period of days. Starting the engine while it’s still warm consumes less fuel than a cold start.
    • Don’t let your car idle in the driveway. Any longer than 30 seconds, and you are essentially getting 0 mpgs.
    • Aggressive driving such as quick speed ups and slow downs, and high cruising speeds reduce your fuel efficiency.

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