Five Energy Saving Opportunities
1. Tighten up the Building Envelope
The 'envelope' is any barrier between conditioned space and unconditioned space. This can be a wall, floor, door, or window. Insulation, weather stripping, and caulking can all be used to seal up the envelope. This is a relatively inexpensive and effective way to raise your home's energy efficiency and should be the first step in your energy saving program.
2. Check Your Heating and Air Conditioning System
Heating and air conditioning is usually the major user of energy in a typical home.
- Check and inspect the system to make sure all of the components are operating properly and efficiently.
- Don't forget to inspect the ductwork for leaks and cracks that can occur as the system ages.
- Other tips; Install a programmable thermostat.
- Don't cover up any air outlet registers.
- Use window treatments such as blinds, tinting or awnings to keep heat out in the summer and let heat in during winter.
3. Use Hot Water Efficiently
Hot water heating is another big user of energy. You can minimize the energy usage be efficient use of hot water. Showers use less hot water than baths and with low-flow shower heads you can save even more. When washing clothes, use cold water when possible and wash full loads. If your hot water heater is 12 years old or older, a new high efficiency model may be a good investment. Most importantly, always repair leaks in the water system promptly.
4. Assess Your Refrigeration Needs
Refrigerators and freezers can be one of the 3 largest users of energy in a typical home. Is your refrigerator 12 years old or older? If so, there are many new models that use much less energy. If you have any additional refrigerators or freezers, you may want to consider using just one, larger, high efficiency unit. When purchasing a refrigerator or freezer, consider BOTH costs - The purchase price of the unit AND the cost of energy over its lifetime. Read the labels.
5. Check Your Lighting
Don't use higher wattage bulbs than necessary. Use photocells and motion detectors on outdoor lighting. Look at some of the newer options in lighting such as compact fluorescent lamps which use one fourth of the energy for the same amount of light. Make use of free, natural lighting when can.
Remember... The most cost effective way to operate any appliance is in the OFF position.