Here are some tips for energy saving around the home - and for lowering our carbon footprints, too. Fortunately, most of these energy saving tips also save money.
Guest article on tips for energy saving with thanks to Alyssa Davis of Metal-Wall-Art.com
Energy saving at home is important for the environment
There are many good reasons for saving energy at home. Apart from the obvious economic benefits, you can reduce your use of resources and lower the associated cost of transportation; you can reduce the use of fossil fuels and contribute to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for man-made climate change. And if you invest in the right equipment to heat and cool your home, you may end up with fewer but better appliances. This will all contribute to a lower carbon footprint and lower energy needs.
Think carefully about your energy needs when you buy new kit for your kitchen or utility room. Many countries now have a rating system to show the enrgy efficiency of appliances. In the UK and Europe we use the EU Energy Label which rates appliances alphabetically. It is easy to understand and new appliances will have the label prominently displayed. In the US the Energy Star system does something similar.
Consider carefully your actual needs. An appliance which is larger than you need will usually use more energy, no matter how well it rates on the systems mentioned above. Conversely, buying something which is rather too small will waste money and energy in the long run as it will wear out sooner than it should. For washing machines, for example, check that the drum size suits your family's needs.
Use cool cycles
Wherever possible use cool settings for your wash and the shortest possible routine. Many machines now have eco settings which take a little longer to run but still manage to save energy.
Switch off your water heater between periods of major usage. Once the water is hot, if you use it sparingly it will likely suffice for most of the day. If you need a booost later in the day switch it on again. this is usually more efficient than just leaving the water heater on throughout the day.
If there is a thermostat, turn it down to 60 C or lower as this is ample for most domestic needs.
Dishwashers should be fully loaded where possible. Choose the energy saving option as standard, saving the other settings for especially greasy or difficult loads.
Check your fridge setting. Use the lowest setting compatible with keeping your food in good condition. Check the seals regularly for leaks and replace as necessary.
Check your thermostat settings. By switching on a littler later and off a little earlier you can lower your usage. Also, turn down the heat a notch or two and select your clothing accordingly. Your bills will fall as will your energy consumption. I'm not talking about a hair shirt approach here, just a sensible temperature choice for everyday living.
Similarly with air conditioning, reduce your usage where possible. Check the filters on the unit as dirty filters will lose you energy.
Here are some top energy saving tips:
Check your windows for drafts and seal or replace faulty ones. This is a good one to do every autumn. Some old windows can be fitted with seals that will prevent drafts. If the gaps are too large you may need to replace the window itself. Check that hinges are working correctly - a bent hinge will lead to windows that do not close properly.
Double-glazed windows can sometimes have the glass replaced rather than the whole window - this is usually far cheaper.
Check elsewhere around your home for air flows. Roof spaces usually have built-in air spaces to promote drying and ventilation. Make sure that these are not blocked.
Open fires need correct ventilation. So do gas fires and other fires that produce noxious gases. Do not block ventilation for these devices as your safety depends on this!
Otherwise, seek and mend any air spaces that are not needed. For example. make sure that room doors are snug in their frames and that draft excluders are fitted where appropriate. Block up any disused vents such as overflow pipes. Check around pipes to the exterior for poor seals from cracked or missing render or caulking.
Insulate everything you can for the winter. Good insulation can save a lot of money and wasted energy. See the pages on loft insulation for more on this.
If your water heater is old, add supplementary lagging to help keep the heat where it is needed. You can buy special kit to insulate tanks and pipes. Any pipes carrying hot water should be lagged to prevent unnecessary heat loss.
Change you shower heads to low flow ones.
There are also some simple home improvement projects that can help save energy and money. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient insulated windows can reduce the amount of heat that is lost through the glass. Adding insulation to your home's walls and ceilings can also help reduce energy consumption and lower heating and cooling bills.
Other pages relevant to energy saving which may interest you:
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