Helpful Tips To Conserve Energy

Energetic efficiency is one of the primary goals in modern individuals. The new man is more educated than ever and has access to all kinds of information and research studies. While everyone might try to save some energy by insulating their homes or unplugging appliances they do not use, the truth is that such a venture goes further than that. Furthermore, this is one of those changes that will not provide immediate results overnight. You may not even be able to observe any updates right away, but if you do the math at the end of the year, some savings can definitely motivate you.

To some people, saving energy is all about the money. They save energy in the attempt to cut the utility bills. They know that their savings will not be so obvious after the first month. Even if they are, you will probably not save a fortune anyway. But once again, these things become obvious in the long run. You are probably aware of all those modernist solutions to help you preserve energy, whether it comes to LED lighting or energy efficient domestic appliances. These days, there is an energy efficient alternative for any type of fixture or appliance. Choices have never been more diversified.

To a different category of people, preserving the energy has nothing to do with the money. Of course, they do think about it, but this is not their primary goal. Instead, they want to maintain the environment for the future generations. They are hardly pushing to reduce the necessity of specific fuels like oil, natural gas and coal. Reducing their use also implies lowering the CO2 emissions. CO2 is currently the main reason for global warming, as well as other pollutive issues and the hectic weather conditions occurring all over the world.

Only in the United States of America, the average individual releases up to 40,000 pounds of CO2 on a yearly basis. If every citizen would at least try to reduce the pollution and energy, the whole country would reach to a new level. Keep in mind that the population spends around $1M every minute. You do not have to go live in a cage or use candles to light up your home, but just exercise a few simple ideas to cut the annual emissions.

Changing yourself or changing the ones around you may look irrelevant. However, every change in the history has started from one point or another. Doing it yourself will inspire others and so on. A few people can change the world, so all these things will work in your favor. They will create a better you, as well as a better environment for your children.

Home improvement solutions that will pay for themselves

Home improvement is not something that you do everyday. It is a costly process that some people perform at every few years or at more than a decade. You do not have to start today in order to save energy. But the next time you plan anything, make sure that you do it with the energy consumption in mind. Even if such things might look more expensive, they will pay for themselves in no time, while the CO2 emissions will be severely reduced.

Double glazed windows make a great replacement for classic windows. You may not necessarily fall for numbers – saving close to 10 tons of CO2 if you have electric heat and almost 2.5 tons for gas heat. Instead, you will notice the upgrades in your comfort right away. Got cold winters? Double glazed windows will keep the heat inside. If you have ordinary windows, you can probably tell already that cold air goes in if you stay close to them. The same goes during the hot season. You do not want to use the air conditioning system round the clock just because the air cannot be trapped inside. Furthermore, you will save money year round on your energy bills.

Insulating has the exact same purpose. Insulating external walls (including ceilings and floors) is ideal for your comfort, as well as your contribution to the environment. Insulation usually goes along with double glazed windows. Doing one of them at a time is still a good idea, but tackling this entire process in one shot will boost the efficiency of your energy savings. Energy bills will be reduced with around 25%.

Unless you live in a block of apartments, you might want to consider investing time (and not so much money) in the environment around your backyard too. Shade trees can be purchased or planted from scratch. They will not just turn hot summers into more comfortable places to rest under, but they will also protect your home against storms and provide fresh oxygen. The color of your house is also quite relevant. Do you pay attention to how light colored clothes reflect heat and dark accessories attract it? The same goes for your home. Living in a hot area? Paint the house in a light nuance.

Less costly solutions that anyone can implement today

Apart from more expensive operations to preserve energy, chances are you can perform some upgrades right now too. The costs are insignificant, while the decision is based on your will to improve your lifestyle.

Got a water heater? Dress it up. Get an insulating jacket and wrap it around. It may not be the most aesthetic appearance, but such things are cheap and will save over 1,000 pounds of CO2 every year.

If you cannot afford using double glazed windows, weatherize the home meanwhile with a cheaper solution until you can save some money. You can find all kinds of weather stripping products and caulk in commerce. They allow you to seal doors and windows. You might want to consider a home energy audit if not sure where the home lacks insulation.

The water consumption is also directly related to the energy waste. Taking hot showers is not just quite unhealthy, but also costly and harmful for your environment. Besides, you do not have to be a genius to realize that you waste a lot of water while showering. So how about some low flow shower heads? They limit the flow and cost less than a hamburger. You will save money on water, but your environment will also thank you.

Finally, stick to energy efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights have gained a lot of popularity over the past decade. They do, indeed, cost more money, but they will pay for themselves in no time. These days, LED lights seem to be even more popular. They will probably last for more than ten years, while the energy consumption is close to none. Their advantages are a lot more diversified.

Learn to use your appliances in an energy efficient manner

Small actions may not have huge effects over you, but they will seriously impact the environment, especially if implemented at a high scale. For example, the refrigerator eats up around 15% of your entire electricity use. Ideally, it should be set at 35 degrees F, while the freezer should not go lower than 30 degrees F. These are the optimal values for an efficient operation.

If you tend to run the dishwasher after each meal and run it with a half load, you should just wait until you fill it up. Got a drying function? You probably find it useful, but you should know that dishes can air dry within minutes only.

thermostat-02Do not overlook the water heater thermostat either. Such things are set at 140 to 150 degrees F, yet they can do a fairly good job at 120 degrees F too. Thinking that 20 degrees is nothing? If all the households in the United States would reduce the temperature by 20 degrees, the country would prevent around 45M tons of CO2 from going up in the air on a yearly basis. This amount is more than what many countries out there can release; Libya, Romania or Ethiopia release less than that.

Last, but not least, never overlook the importance of research when buying new appliances. Whether you have to replace an old washing machine, a dishwasher or a boiler, look for energy efficient items. The market is quite diversified.

Smart tips and tricks to make your life easier

There are plenty of small hacks that people overlook, whether they are too ignorant or they simply got no idea about them.

  • Covering kettles when boiling water for a faster result.
  • Insulating water pipes to maintain temperature.
  • Installing the water heater close to the kitchen to prevent heat loss.
  • Keeping lights on only when needed.
  • Keeping bulbs dust free to prevent light loss.
  • Choosing laptops over desktops, as well as LCD monitors over CRT monitors.
  • Vacuuming refrigerator coils three or four times a year.
  • Buying appliances according to your home or family necessities only.
  • Washing clothes in warm and cold water instead of using hot water.
  • Starting to drive as soon as the car is turned on, without waiting for it to warm up.
  • Walking, cycling or using public transportation as often as possible.

The three Rs in energetic efficiency and energy consumption

The three Rs normally refer to a few basic skills in life – reading, writing and arithmetic. They are different in energy efficiency though and relate to reducing, reusing and recycling. Believe it or not, all the food that goes to trash in the United States of America can feed the entire Africa. People naturally waste a lot of things and energy is one of them, especially since it relates to plenty of other considerations.

From this point of view, you can reduce the levels of waste by purchasing minimally packaged goods. Reusable packages, bags and products are just as useful over disposable alternatives. In the end, recycling everything is the key to productivity. The equation is quite encouraging. Every amount of waste you recycle or eliminate will reduce the CO2 emissions with at least as much. It is easy to tell your success rate. If you can reduce the garbage bag in half, you will save over 1,000 pounds of CO2. Recycled materials also contribute to the energy consumption. Up to 50% of paper, 35% of glass and 90% of aluminum can be recycled. Unfortunately, a lot of people choose comfort and ignorance over dedication.

Recycling and reusing can be done in any environment, including your home or your car. If you have an air conditioning system inside the car, keep the coolant in the best possible shape. Recycle it when you service the system. Air conditioning leaks represent the most important source of CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons) elements in nature. The respective substances destroy the ozone layer, hence the necessity of regular servicing.

Traveling too much? Keep it low on the energysign-161175_1280

When traveling, most people leave at least a light on, only to deter potential burglars. This is a bad idea. Instead, set some lights on timers. The results will be more efficient, but you can also preserve some energy. Heaters and other appliances should run on the vacation settings too, yet not all appliances have such things. Everything that is not used should be unplugged.

Driving on the highway will also affect the energy consumption. Doing 65MPH instead of 55MPH will lower the traveling time, but you will increase the fuel consumption by over 12%. Go to 75MPH and you will lose 25%. While time means money, there are situations when time means wasting money. Roof racks also kill the dynamics of your vehicle and add to the fuel consumption. Such things may not be obvious, but savings will pay off overtime.

As a short final conclusion, there are a wide plethora of tips to conserve energy. They vary widely from one individual to another, depending on their lifestyle and necessities. What works for some people may not always work for you, yet these considerations tend to apply to pretty much everyone out there.

Does Unplugging Appliances That Are Not In Use Save Energy?

to plug or not to plug

The average household in a civilized country has around 30 appliances plugged in round the clock, even if they are not used. You probably count yourself in this category too. Think about the TV set, dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, computer, espresso and so on. When turned off, you probably imagine that they will not require any energy at all. After all, it is not like you go to sleep with the lights, computer and washing machine on. However, even so, electronics and appliances will still eat some energy, leading to exquisite costs and hidden expenses in the long run.

No matter where you live or what your energy bills count, you should know that around 10% of residential energy is used by devices that do not work, yet they are plugged on a 24/7 basis. Of course, the consumption is small and insignificant. Such appliances will barely need a couple of watts. Some of them need more than that. Your computer or TV set will not necessarily standby when you set the mode. Instead, it will sap some energy in a subtle manner. All these things add up. At the end of the month, your environmentally friendly lifestyle is not necessarily so healthy, so a change becomes mandatory.

There are dozens of appliances that stay plugged in round the clock. Some of them are plugged in the garage, while others are used in the basement or the laundry room. If you count bedrooms or the living room, their number will skyrocket. Doing the math yourself will look like an interesting exercise. Unfortunately, the outcome will surprise you – and not in a positive way. Even when you go to sleep and you turn everything down, you can still hear the refrigerator or check out the router lights. You also look at the alarm clock to ensure that it is properly set. While it looks like a silent environment, it is not. If there is one moment when you can actually listen to the silence, that moment is a power cut. Only then you will finally understand what silence truly means.

Saving energy is often a matter of education. You switch the lights off whenever you leave a room, but you also unplug various appliances when going on vacation. You have probably invested in CFL bulbs or LED lights already, not to mention about purchasing energy efficient appliances only. You set the thermostat and water heater a few degrees lower too. With these changes, you probably imagine that you minimize the electricity consumption. It is great for both the environment and your monthly budged. Unfortunately, you often forget about the phantom power, which is lost without even knowing how. These hidden costs are often triggered by the appliances you keep plugged in round the clock.

How much energy are they eating up? It is hard to tell or to notice. Can you do something about them? Definitely. Understanding how much money you can save by plugging appliances off will work wonders in the long run.

Understanding the concept of hidden power

The so called hidden, idle or standby power is the electricity used by appliances when they are turned off, yet plugged in. Too tired to unplug the TV before going to bed? Setting the bread maker or coffee espresso for the morning? Most people rarely unplug dishwashers, washing machines, lamps and computers too. All these things account for up to 10% of your monthly energy bills. The percentage keeps going up though. It is hard to understand why, especially since most appliances available in commerce today come with energy efficiency markings and detailed numbers.

The answer is in the current standards of automation. Practically, the more modernist things become, the more power they require too. They are supposed to be versatile, but convenience never comes for free. Things with remote controls, chargers and continuous displays will usually work round the clock. Therefore, tablets, modems, alarm clocks, microwaves or coffeemakers will all add up to your energy bill. On a different note, old fashioned appliances are slightly different. As long as they have manual controls, they are less likely to sap any power. They have no standby modes so they are either on or off. On a negative note, these old appliances are not too energy efficient while running.

The solution is somewhere in the middle. You want efficiency, so you want modern gadgets. You do not want to lose phantom energy, so just unplug them when they are not used. The good news is that energy guidelines might give you a hand, but it is still your responsibility to tackle the loss accordingly.

Case study – should you unplug?

Think about an old DVD player that you keep in the basement, close to your improvised home cinema system. You never unplug it because it only runs when you need it. However, this old electronic can eat 10 watts of power a day. It happens everyday, month by month and year by year. A watt of power is around 9 kilowatt hours per year (365 days x 24 hours x 1 watt). Since it needs 10 watts of power, the number goes up to about 90 kilowatt hours per year. At this point, you need to know the cost per kWh. It varies from one area or provider to another. But assuming that you pay 12 cents per kWh, the old DVD player will spend a little under $11. You basically spend less than $1 a month for it.

It sounds irrelevant. After all, you can find a $1 a month by picking up all the coins you find on the street. So why would you bother? Keep in mind that this is only a DVD player. Laptops, computers and television sets require a lot more power, not to mention about those things with displays and LED lights. Besides, you have 20 to 40 appliances that are plugged in round the clock. If you do the math, you are wasting hundreds every year. Think about how much money your street is wasting. What about the city? How about the world? Billions go to trash every year for nothing. Now, when you think about it, you no longer feel like leaving stuff plugged in only to display some LED lights or perhaps the time.

Unplugging? Looks challenging and stressful

Your early savings can be calculated in a few different ways. At first, you can buy a measuring tool to figure how much energy each appliance uses while in the standby mode. On a different note, you can just as well take a look at your past energy bills and figure the yearly savings by cutting 10% out of the total sum. Getting there is challenging, but is it really worth unplugging?

Some devices are not going to “behave” too well if they are unplugged all the time. Think about the cable box. You keep plugging it in and out a few times a day. In order to reprogram itself, it will require a couple of minutes. It can become frustrating after a while. Some boxes are old and may not even reprogram themselves, making the manual configuration even more annoying. This is only an exception though. Your washing machine is different. So is the dryer or the dishwasher. These appliances do not fool around when it comes to sapping your energy. The worst part is that such heavy duty appliances are so large that they require specific places. Wires go behind them in heavily accessible areas. It is not like you can move them to unplug and plug them all day long.

Power StripWith these ideas in mind, you do not want to spend half an hour every night to unplug everything, then another half an hour in the morning. You barely have time for yourself. This is when you need to go tricky. A power strip can become your best friend for specific devices. Plug it in, then plug a few devices into it and just flip the switch. It is a matter of seconds. You only need to spend time while “wiring” the respective appliances and directing them. Once you are done, pressing a few buttons before going to sleep and doing it again in the morning is a lot easier.

Preventing energy loss is also useful if you opt for energy saving appliances and devices. Some appliances (like refrigerators or dishwashers) are developed with environmentally friendly purposes, but look for their ratings. Some others come with specific accessories that can reduce the waste. For instance, how many times have you forgotten the phone recharger plugged in when in a hurry? You take the phone and leave the recharger. Some modern alternatives allow the rechargers to unplug themselves when no phones are connected.

Do pay attention to special activities that require using more devices at the same time too. If you got a Wifi game around, it makes no sense to keep it connected to the Internet when the game is not used. It will probably sap about 10 watts of power. However, when turning the wireless connection off, you will only waste 1.3 watts. You are basically reducing the waste with 87%. What can be more efficient than that?

Top 10 greediest energy eaters around your household

The average household has about 30 appliances that stay plugged in round the clock. It depends on how large the home is. A large home may have more than 50 units in, while a two room apartment can have 20 of them. With all these, it is important to know what the most common energy hogs in your household are.

A lot of people (especially youngsters) tend to leave their computers and laptops running overnight. Whether they download some large files or they play specific games, they do not even bother to shut these things down. Even if they do, they never unplug them. After all, what is the point? These devices are not just popular, but they also require a lot of energy, even when they are apparently off.

Television sets are just as common. Some people like to fall asleep with their TVs on. They program them to shutdown by themselves after an hour or two – not because they care for their bills, but because they care for their comfort. Obviously, they will not stand up to go to the power outlet and unplug them. DVD players and VCRs are in the exact same situations.

Modems are almost never unplugged because the Internet connection should be continuous, especially if they are wireless. The same goes for cable TV boxes and cordless phones. Do not forget about radios, lamps and coffeemakers either. In fact, almost every appliance in the kitchen is left plugged in, especially if it is normally stored on the counters. Other things (like blenders or food processors) are usually unplugged.

With these ideas in mind, it might be worth coming up with a checklist before going to sleep. Is there something you do not need while you sleep? Take it off.

Other helpful ideas in increasing the energetic efficiency

When temperatures go up during the summertime, most people experience a solid bill growth due to cooling systems. Unfortunately, they have no clue how to handle these things accordingly. Lowering the thermostat one degree is the answer to save up to 10% of your heating expenses. Moreover, learn how to take 3 minute showers. Use a minute to wet yourself, then turn the water off. Use another minute to cover your body and soap and a third minute to rinse.

Low flow shower heads are quite inexpensive and efficient too, not to mention about faucet aerators. Forget about classic bulbs too. Fluorescent bulbs are better, while LED lights are the best.

In conclusion, energy efficiency can be challenging, but it can be done. Some considerations may not necessarily be obvious, but they will work wonders in the long run. Never overlook small details regarding whatever adds to your bills.