Sunday, September 21, 2008
Tips for Saving Energy and Money
Below are some energy-saving tips to help you lower your utility bill and save money, while protecting the environment. Some of these tips are simple to do, while others may take more time and investment.
- Change your light bulbs to CFLs. Compact Fluorescent Light bulb uses 75% less electricity than an incandescent bulb, while producing the same amount of energy. Each CFL bulb you install can save $40 or more over its lifetime.
- Look for EnergyGuide label. Plan on buying a new appliance? Look for an energy saving label called “EnergyGuide”.
- Maintain your refrigerator. Clean your refrigerator coils located behind or underneath your refrigerator at least twice a year. Refrigerators typically use more energy than any other household appliances, between 10-25% of total energy consumption. Coil cleaning can save as much as 7% of your refrigerator’s energy usage.
- Wash clothes with cold water instead of hot water. Better yet, wash your clothes at night or on weekends when electricity is cheaper.
- Air dry your dishes. Skip the drying cycle for dishwashers to save 5% on energy. Open the dishwasher door overnight to allow air drying.
- Hug a tree. Plant trees in strategic areas, usually on the south and west sides, of your house, and reduce your utility bill by as much as $250 a year. Trees enable you to cover up your house and make your place cooler in the summer, while helping you avoid using your air conditioner.
- Seal up all cracks. If there’s a hole on the wall or a crack on the window, make sure to patch it up to avoid energy loss.
- Install a programmable thermostat. You can recover your cost in the first year.
- Open your blinds and shades to take advantage of natural light and close them at night to help reduce heat loss.
- Go solar. It may be a costly initial investment, but you can save energy and help protect the environment.
- Buy a smart watt meter. Use it to gauge the electricity consumption of your household appliances, computers, monitors, etc. You can measure the devices in Volts, Watts, Amps, KWH, and more, allowing you to know what to cut back on, what devices are eating up your electricity and whether they should be shutdown if not used. This meter will repay for itself overtime. Check out P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor.
- Reduce the water-heater temperature to between 110 and 120 degrees. Most thermostats are set at 130 or 140 degree. It’s unnecessary to have the water heater higher than 120 degree as it wastes energy.
- Install occupancy sensors in all your rooms. This helps shut off the lights automatically when you’re not in the room. For outdoor lighting, use sensors or timers to control the lights by turning on and off automatically.
- Install a water-efficient showerhead to reduce hot water consumption and save energy.
- Avoid putting your clothes in a dryer, instead air dry them. Hanging your clothes after you wash them, even indoors, helps save energy and protect the environment. The cheapest way to do this is by installing a clothesline running from one pole (or tree) to another pole (or tree). Learn how to air dry your clothes here: Air dry washing.
If you use the dryer, avoid overloading the dryer as it will take longer to dry your clothes.
- Insulate the house. Heating and cooling make up more than 50% of the home’s total energy consumption. With adequate insulation, you can cut back on heating and cooling cost, while making your home more comfortable. Improper insulation and air leakage can cause significant energy waste.
- Adjust the thermostat. In the winter, lower the thermostat 5 degree to save as much as 10-15%. In the summer, raise the thermostat 5 degree to save as much as 15-20%.
- Clean and replace heating and cooling air filters regularly. A dirty air filter will keep the air from flowing properly, making the system work extra hard to keep you cool or warm. Check your air filter once a month and replace it every two weeks during the heavy use season. If the filter looks dirty, clean or change it as necessary. Keeping your air conditioner (AC) clean, free of dust and debris ensures your AC system run more efficiently and effectively.
- Seal the heating and cooling ducts. This helps improve the air flow efficiency of your heating and cooling systems
- Avoid using the oven and use small appliances, such as microwave, toaster oven, crockpot, and electric frying pan instead.
- Use the correct size pan for the burner. When cooking on your stove, make sure to match your pan size to your burner. It also helps to dust off your pan and crock pot.
- Close the doors on all unoccupied rooms to prevent heat loss.
- Flush the water in your water heater periodically to remove sediment and prevent buildup.
- Use LCD monitor. The old CRT monitor consumes significant wattage. Buy energy efficient LCD monitor to save energy
- Turn off the monitor and close the laptop. If you don’t use your laptop, close it. If you’re away from your PC and monitor for more than 15 minutes, turn them off. Screensavers do not save energy.
- Adjust PC to sleep mode. Keep your computer and monitor in sleep mode so the computer goes to sleep when you’re not using it. This saves a significant amount of energy.
- Enable energy saver settings. Adjust your power setting on your computer monitor or laptop to ‘energy saver’ mode so it is optimized for energy savings.
- Dim the screen. Reduce the monitor brightness and save energy. The display consumes more power than even the CPU.
- Don’t buy a desktop, buy a laptop. If you plan on buying a new computer, consider getting a laptop instead of a desktop as laptops are more energy efficient and environmental friendly than desktops or PCs. A laptop uses roughly 20 watts, while a desktop uses about 130 watts of power. And make sure you look for laptops with energy star rated.
- Use power strips. Turning off your TV, PC, monitor, and fax machine is not enough. Make sure you unplug them from the wall. To make it easier for you, plug all your devices into a surge protector or power strip and turn off the switch on the surge protector when leaving your room – this will turn off all your devices. Then unplug the surge protector from the wall and save more energy.
By following the simple steps presented above, you can save big money on your electric bill. You’re also taking part in reducing global warming by cutting down on the consumption of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions. Simply use energy more wisely and efficiently, and help save the environment.
More on energy savings:
- Energy Savers. Information to help you save energy in your home, business, vehicle, or industrial plant.
- Energy Star. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping you save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
- Alliance to save energy. The Alliance to Save Energy promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security.
- Department of Energy – A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Provide information on how to use the energy more efficiently in your home. You can also learn how to use renewable energy to provide your home with electricity, heating, cooling, and water heating.
- Consumer Energy Center. Information for the consumer about saving energy for home, office and school.
- PowerSmart. A great resource on how to save energy, save money, and save the planet.
- Federal Trade Commission – Saving Starts at Home. The inside story on conserving energy at home.
- Energy Information Administration – Saving Energy in all Sectors. A great resource on energy savings in your state and industry.
- Green Schools. Empower schools through energy efficiency.
- Smart Energy Living Alliance. Provide unbiased information, tools and resources people and businesses need to make intelligent, responsible energy decisions.
- Flex your Power. Promote energy efficiency from California Energy Efficiency and Conservation.
- Kids Saving Energy. Games, tips, and facts just for kids who want to save energy.
- Smart Energy Use for Students and Kids. Empowering students and kids to save energy — by the Department of Energy.
- Solar Energy for Kids. Information on solar energy and renewable energy sources.
- National Energy Education Development Project. A great educational resource on energy, particularly solar energy.
- TreeHugger. Green information news, and products.
- CarbonFund. Carbonfund is leading the fight against global climate change, making it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to eliminate their climate impact and hastening the transformation to a clean energy future.