Lighting

The simplest tip with lighting is to replace all light bulbs with an energy efficient equivalent. This easy step can reduce lighting energy consumption by up to 70%. Which light bulb is the best? Each type of bulb has its own advantages and disadvantages with costs, efficiency, light quality and environmental concerns. As a consumer it is important to get the facts, weigh the options and consider the lighting needs of the household, then flip the switch.

  • Incandescent Light Bulbs. These are the most inexpensive lighting option starting at approximately $0.50 each but need to be replaced the most often. They also generate a lot of heat and consume much more electricity than any of these next options.
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL). These can cost about $3.00 to $5.00 each. However, manufacturers of CFLs claim that these energy efficient light bulbs will last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Keep in mind that they do contain small amounts of mercury so disposal can become an issue. Contact your municipal waste department for disposal instructions.
  • Halogen Light Bulbs. Like incandescent light bulbs, halogens also generate heat but are more efficient and burn 45 percent less energy. According to manufacturers, these bulbs will last up to 10,000 hours. They come in a variety of sizes and light qualities to meet a wide range of consumer needs and generally start at about $5.00 each.
  • LED Lights. These have been proclaimed as the most efficient light source, measuring five times more efficient than CFLs according to a Holmes magazine article. A six watt LED bulb can produce as much light as a 60 watt incandescent light bulb. It holds a projected lifespan of 25,000 hours. However, efficiency does cost more as the LED comes with the most expensive price tag – about $15.00 each.
  • Computers and Electronics 9%
  • Appliances 9%
  • Refrigeration 8%
  • Other 8%

Odds and Ends

There are a variety of other small things that can be done on a daily basis which will result in an overall more energy efficient home.

  • Turn off the lights! This seems simple, but many people forget this basic tip.
  • Turn off the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans as soon as they are no longer needed. The exhaust fans will suck the heated or cooled air right out of the house.
  • Reverse the direction of the ceiling fan as seasons change. Counter-clockwise forces warm air down into the room, clockwise lifts the warm air up.
  • Run air conditioning at 75° F. This temperature will keep things comfortable and anything more uses power excessively.
  • Unplug any electronic appliance that is not being used. Even if the appliance is turned off, it continues to use electricity. These can include items such as hair styling tools, toasters, coffee makers, lamps, etc.
  • Don’t overstock the refrigerator. When a refrigerator is overloaded, air cannot circulate properly and the refrigerator’s compressor has to work harder to keep the food at the set temperature.
  • Leave the dryer off and air dry laundry, if possible. Also, wash only full loads of laundry.
  • Use the home’s landscape to lower energy bills by planting trees and shrubs that will provide wind breaks to the home in the winter and shade in the summer.


Water Heating

Electric hot water systems can often be the culprit behind excessive household energy consumption. Excessive use can be minimized in a number of ways.
  • Install aerating, low flow shower heads and faucets, which can reduce significantly the amount of water used without degrading a refreshing shower.
  • Experiment with lowering the temperature of the water heater. Quite often a newly installed water heater will come preset at a high temperature. For most household needs a temperature of 120° F is more than adequate.
  • If you have an older unit, your water heater may not be adequately insulated. For a quick fix, insulate it with a water heater blanket.

Heating/Cooling

Heating and Cooling combined make up almost half of all energy used, which translates into half of your energy bill. Evaluating these two areas and making a few simple changes can help you save money. These suggestions are easy to follow and will make your home more energy efficient:
  • Seal air leaks. A number of places where air leaks occur are around window frames, chimneys, water and furnace flues, door sill plates, and electrical outlets and switch plates. Caulking and weather stripping are easy and economical measures for windows and doors and for larger gaps, foam sealant. Inflatable chimney balloons can be used when a fireplace is not in use.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Savings on heating and cooling can be as much as 10% with the use of a programmable thermostat simply due to turning back the thermostat by 10-15% for eight hours.
  • Install blinds, shades or curtains on windows. In the summer insulated drapes, shades or curtains can keep the heat out. In the winter they can help reduce the chilling effect of bare glass.
  • Make sure to maintain your heating and air conditioning unit. Have a heating or HVAC specialist come out and give your system a tune up. This will allow your system to perform at an optimal level, delivering the best energy efficiency possible.
  • Change the air filters. The air filter should be changed at least every three months according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Check the filter on a regular basis and change it when it is dirty. The filter can be changed every few weeks if needed. Not only does the clean filter help you save energy but as an added bonus, it will cut down on air pollution and particles in the home
  •  Heating 31%
  • Cooling 12%
  • Water Heating 12%
  • Lighting 11%
Look around your home and see what things you can do to lower your energy consumption and increase your savings!  Doing so will leave you feeling better about your contribution to the environment and your electric bill.

CONSERVING ENERGY AND MONEY

Electric Use in the Home

The standard breakdown of electricity used in an all electric home annually is as follows:




Let’s focus on what we can do to lower the energy consumption in the top four areas: heating, cooling, water heating and lighting.


 

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