There are a number of home energy saving devices which will repay their purchase cost within a reasonable time. This being so, many of them are also money saving devices!
Electricity saving is becoming important for all of us because of the effects upon our planet of profligate energy use. Energy efficiency can be achieved partly by using some of the home power saving devices described here.
This page takes a look at LEDS and CFLs, home energy metres, stand-by busters and some other home energy saving devices which should pay you back within a reasonable time frame.
What counts as a reasonable time frame depends upon how deep your pockets are! Some of the more expensive home energy saving devices may have a long payback time but still be worth the outlay because over their lifetime they save you a good deal of cash.
Of course, there is no substitute for turning off appliances and lights when you don't need them! Simple and cheap.
Don't forget that it's always worth checking that your electricity provider is doing their bit for energy efficiency and the environment. In the UK, Scottish Power has a good green energy policy and they are good at customer service too (we are with them). You can also check different providers against each other by using a price comparison service.
Cheap electricity is unfortunately not always green electricity. It's always worth looking to compare electricity charges. Some green electricity suppliers are relatively cost conscious. Energy prices may also fall as more green sources of energy become available. There are already schemes which allow you to feed energy back into the grid in some place.
So here are some ideas for slashing your home energy consumption. First, ones which save you electricity:
"Kill a Watt" is an energy measuring gizmo. Plug one of these home energy saving devices in to any household socket then plug in your favourite energy-guzzling device. The Kill a Watt shows you exactly how much energy you are drawing.
It's quite inexpensive at less than £20.00 in the UK. I believe there is a US version for 115 volt power supplies, too.
These home energy saving devices should easily earn their keep, provided that your family is ready to learn from the info they provide! They can also help sort those perennial questions such as "Which is worse, the TV or the computer left on?". You'll have the proof!
Now you can slay the vampire energy devices with one fell swoop. Stand by buttons on idle machines can account for as much as 10% of energy use in a household, so it is well worth making sure that your electricity charges are not being hiked by these energy suckers.
Bye Bye Standby Energy Saving Kit from Amazon is a system which has had rave reviews from users. You just plug in the devices and use a simple infra-red remote to control all your selected machines - computers, fax machines, TVs and other vampire energy suckers. The system is extremely good value, too. Read customer reviews for Bye Bye Stand By here.
Home power saving devices work best when they are shared around so that people can learn from them and adapt their behaviour. Consider sharing your energy monitoring device with others, through a LETS scheme, perhaps.
Remember, if these home energy saving devices are left unused in a cupboard somewhere, they are worse than useless, as they all take energy to manufacture.
You can now recharge your rechargeable batteries using solar power - completely off-grid, in fact. In the UK you can now buy these from Wyndi Wyndi for about £17 including postage and they also will recharge your mobile, too, (making you ever more mobile!) The units are small and light-weight and come with adaptors for all the major mobile phone brands.
Similar products are available in North America from Green Batteries including, at the top of the range the Powerfilm R15-300 Rollable Solar Panel if you want total portable power!
Lighting seems to be undergoing a renaissance as manufacturers struggle to supply the demand for more energy efficient forms of lighting. The first type to consider is the CFL (Compact fluorescent light) which is already starting to dominate the market here in the UK. If you only want to make one change, these home energy saving devices are the way to go!
These low energy light bulbs work in the same way as fluorescent lights - in fact, that's what they are, compact fluorescent lights or CFLs. They take longer to warm up but use fewer watts of power for the amount of light generated.
They also last many times longer than old-fashioned light bulbs, so they should not be any more expensive to buy if you look at it over a few months. Just replace the old bulbs as they blow. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how long they last compared to the old ones.
On average, they last for about 12,000 hours, which is 5 times as long as old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
The technology has moved on from the early days of CFLs, when bulbs were slow to warm up and the light emitted was often yellowish. People complained that they also hummed a little.
All these problems have been pretty much solved and the cost-effectiveness of using CFLs is also clear. A 20 watt bulb (equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent bulb) will more than pay for itself over it's lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb - (both energy used and cost of replacing blown bulbs considered).
Most households could save on electricity charges by switching to CFLs. You can expect to save about 50 - 100 dollars (£25 - £50) a year by switching to CFLs, so they are pretty good home energy saving devices!
One downside is that you can't use most of them with dimmer switches.
There have been concerns voiced about the mercury content of CFLs. While it is true that they do contain mercury, the amount present is fairly small - about 6mgs per bulb. By comparison, incandescent bulbs emit more mercury than CFLs during use.
Power stations also emit mercury gases which can cause contamination in the environment; by using CFLs you are helping to reduce your energy costs and therefore curtail the amount of mercury being emitted from power stations!
You should certainly dispose of old bulbs carefully and be careful not to break them. Contact your local authority for advice on how best to recycle your used CFLs.
If you should happen to break a CFL it is a good idea to open the nearest windows and sweep the debris into a sturdy plastic bag, being careful not to handle the broken pieces. Wipe up carefully and throw any paper towels used into the plastic bag too. Secure the bag and contact your council for instructions on disposal. Wash your hands well after clearing away the mess.
Now that CFL designs are more compact they can be placed in most areas of the house without any inconvenience. We've now got them everywhere except in a couple of reading lamps. I can't think when I last had to change a bulb. (I've not broken one yet.)
LED lights may provide an alternative to incandescent light bulbs for some people.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. They are used in computer screens, so the chances are you are looking at LED light right now. They are often found in products and appliances which need small bulbs. Some flashlights now have them, for example.
There are no worries about mercury to consider - they don't contain any.
For household use they are still relatively expensive, some bulbs costing as much as 70 dollars. The watts consumed are far less than for even CFLs, (typically in the region of less than two watts!) the light emitted does not generally compare favourably.
LEDs are great for focused light on a small area. If you want to highlight or accentuate something to make it more visible, then they can be valuable. If you want to just light up a whole room so that you can see everything clearly - then they are not so good.
New versions are coming onto the market all the time. There are LEDs available for outside use, too. Restaurants and pubs are increasingly using them for mood lighting and, week on week, they are more commonly available in hardware stores.
Another consideration is that they last well, so perhaps they are one of the best and easiest home energy saving devices to choose. Most bulbs will last for thousands of hours, some as much as 30,000 hours.
For me, the jury is still out on just how useful they will be in the fight to control spiralling energy costs and carbon emissions. So often new technology adds an extra layer of expectation in our consumer society, rather than just replacing the older technology. But they should be some help and prices are sure to tumble as they become more widely known.