The benefits of conserving energy is multi-fold. In addition to lowering your utility bills, you will also reduce your carbon footprint. The quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we consume is crucial to the vitality and healthiness of a society. That is why it is important for us to be cognizant of the impact that our day-to-day choices have on the environment. While improving technologies help, we need to still make the right choices. Powerline Plus always encourages the general public to make sound energy choices in how we heat and cool our homes, what vehicles we drive and any general energy-consumption choices we make. Contrary to conventional wisdom, small changes that you make in your daily routine will have major consequences on the environment. The tips that we offer in this article will provide solid guidelines on how to save energy, year-round.
Various tips on how to lower your energy usages and implement energy-saving lifestyle changes that will be discussed. It will cover energy-efficient tips when it comes to cooling, heating, lighting, appliances, water heating, electronics, windows and roofing. Whenever you undertake a plan to reduce your energy usage, it is important to practice due diligence and understand the changeover. Every home and business now has a smart meter, which has enabled people to manage their electricity usages. Smart meters measure how much energy is being consumed on an hour-to-hour basis. Billing has divided consumer’s electricity into three different categories: on-peak, off-peak and mid-peak. Each category has a corresponding billing rate.
- Peak hours: business hours on Monday to Friday. This period of time has the highest billing rate.
- Mid-Peak hours: Just before and after peak hours. The period of time has the second highest billing rate and is usually slightly more inexpensive than peak hours.
- Off-Peak: It is the most inexpensive time period. It is usually on the weekends, holidays and at night.
- General Note: Billing rates change season-by-season.
It would be prudent and beneficial for customers to shift their energy usages to off-peak times.
Top Ways to Lower Energy Consumption, Save Money
- Use LED/ CFL bulbs: The switchover can save you up to three times the purchase cost and electricity. CFL bulbs will result in 75% less electricity and last ten-times as long.
- Install Smart Thermostat: When you are away, through WiFi-enabled thermostats or programmable thermostats like Nest©, you can lower/ increase the temperatures during the heating and cooling seasons. The energy savings will pay immediate dividends and within a 1 or 2 years, it should pay for the thermostat.
- Replace Old Refrigerator: Older appliances are more inefficient and can increase your energy expenditures every month. Getting a certified “Energy Star” refrigerator/ freezer is always a good idea.
- Dispose Extra Refrigerator: While it may provide more storage space for your perishables, refrigerators use a lot of energy. You may be spending upwards of $150 dollars a year for powering your second refrigerator.
- Wash Laundry in Cold Water: The energy it takes to heat laundry water can have a negative impact on your bottom-line. By changing-over to washing in cold water, it allows you to save energy in a big way. Studies have shown that washing your laundry in cold water is actually beneficial to the longevity of your clothing articles.
- Install Insulation: Insulation helps the inflow and outflow of heat. It will keep your home warmer in the winter and will keep it cooler in the summer. The first places to start is the basement and the attic, where you will naturally see it the highest fluctuations in cold and hot temperatures.
- Motion Sensors: Avoid leaving your lights-on outside, you can setup a motion sensor that turns lights-on when someone is there.
Air Leaks Air leaks can waste a lot of energy. One of the best ways to lower energy consumptions and save money is to seal and weather-strip cracks and openings. Test the air tightness of your home by feeling for air on windy days. Once you detect there is an opening, then remediate.
Cooling and Heating Close to 50% of your utility bill is related to your cooling and heating costs. You should set your thermostat to a temperature that you are comfortable with in the winter and summer. This means, in the summer, set it to as high as you are comfortable with and as low as you are comfortable with in the winter. When it is cool outside in the summer, open your windows and turn off your heat. In the winter, open your drapes and shades to allow for sunlight to come in. Ensure that your windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your house.
Roofing The heat retention on your roof makes your air conditioner work harder in the summer. Two renovation procedures can help you save energy dollars. A “cool roof” allows for more sunlight and a “green roof,” which is ideal for flat roots, can help manage storm weather and allows you to enjoy gardening space. Consult a professional before opting for a green roof to see if it is a viable option.
Water Heating Water heating is a big utility expense. It accounts for close to 20% of your utility bill. The best ways to cut-down on your water bill is to use less hot water, turn down thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater or upgrade your water heater. Most water heaters can last for up to 15 years, but it is best to change them after 7-8 years.
Lighting Switching to energy-efficient lighting bulbs is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. When you’ve installed timers and motion sensors, you are able to manage your lighting in a way that coincides with turning it on when you need it. Changing your lighting is the fastest way for you to decrease your energy output.
Windows Windows can be a big energy drain as they let heat and coolness go in-and-out. You should consider replacing your windows with double-pane windows. In colder climates, select gas-filled windows with low-e coatings to reduce heat loss. In warmer climates, select windows with selected coatings to reduce heat gain.
Renewable Energy Solar panels on rooftops have become very popular. They can be used to generate heat, electricity and light up your house. In addition to solar paneling, you can also buy renewable energy for your home. You can buy electricity that is made from renewable sources like the sun, wind, water etc. You can also install small wind turbines.