One of the things that is starting to have a lot more press and importance in people’s lives over the last couple years is that of energy reduction. This is because of more attention to global warming and new advances in renewable energies just starting to be pushed into the mainstream. I think a lot more people are paying attention to these things now. I also believe that taking some steps to contribute to reducing your energy usage can definitely give you a good feeling about contributing to such a global scale problem.
Some of these tips are simple to do and others are more costly. You should look into the value of these and consider doing as many as possible to reduce your energy usage.
- Change an old incandescent light bulb out for a power compact fluorescent
- Be habitual in turning off lights and not using them when they are not needed. Or install room occupancy sensors so that lights automatically turn off when no one is in the room.
- Use a household composter to recycle any organic waste
- Recycle as much of your waste as possible (paper, plastic, glass, rubber, cardboard, containers, etc)
- Buy recycled goods whenever possible
- Re-use plastic bags, containers and items that are often considered throw aways.
- Unplug any electronics when it is not in use. Many electronics use standby modes and transformers that continuously draw power even when not in use.
- Add cold weather sealants and weather stripping around your home to stop any cold air from entering if you live in a cold climate
- Open windows for air circulation and ventilation instead of fans or air conditioners whenever possible in warm weather.
- Add a high R-rated attic insulation to reduce heat exchange with your roof.
- Replace old windows in your home to higher rated and insulated windows
- Add a programmable thermostat to your furnace so you can reduce your heating when you are sleeping and at work.
- Shut off your air conditioner and reduce your furnace thermostat temperature when you are away from home so it doesn’t need to run without you there as much.
- Replace any old furnace with a new energy efficient furnace. This can often be fully paid off in savings within 3-5 years depending on how old the original one is.
- Add an insulation blanket to your hot water heater or replace it with a more efficient model if it is very old.
- Ensure your refrigerator and freezer are maintained to run efficiently as they are large energy users. Clean the coils and filters outside and also any air vents and icy areas inside so they run optimally. Open them as little as possible and keep a balanced temperature so they don’t run excessively.
- Install low water efficient shower heads and take short showers instead of baths.
- Use your dishwasher less by hand washing simple meals or only using rinse or short cycles if the dishes aren’t that dirty.
- Reduce the thermostat on your hot water heater. This is often set far higher than you need it. If the water is hot enough to burn you when on full hot, you can definitely reduce it to save heater costs.
- In hot climates, plant large trees that can provide shaded areas on the house for sunny days.
- Consider adding wind or solar collectors for using renewable energy at your home. These systems have longer payout times but drastically reduce your energy consumption over a long term.
- Install solar hot water collectors for exterior pools and/or your household water heating systems.
- Drive less (replace with public transit, car pooling, walking or cycling) to reduce your fuel consumption
- Maintain your vehicle for fuel efficiency (clean air filter, proper tire inflation, clean vehicle)
- Don’t use your vehicle’s air conditioner (instead roll down the windows or sunroof) as it can increase your fuel costs by 10%
- Drive slower on the highway. This can significantly reduce your fuel consumption.
- Don’t drive as aggressively in the city and be a little slower to accelerate. This will also significantly reduce your fuel consumption.
- Share your household tools and equipment with a friend or neighbor, especially items you don’t need that often.
- Add a rain barrel to collect water for the garden plants, flowers and lawn.
- Water only when its cool (in the morning) and don’t over water lawns. A good 1 inch watering is only needed at most once a week to maintain a healthy lawn in most climates.
- Make purchases for items with less packaging especially if the products are comparable. Packaging is expensive to make and deal with as a waste so having less of it is very helpful.
- Simply buy less stuff . The less stuff you buy and collect, the less materials and energy that was needed to make it for you and so drastically reduces your energy usage.
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