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.
Do 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 energy
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.