|Home Energy Conservation
Welcome to the Home Energy Conseravation Page. Before any higher technology solutions like solar energy, the first step is to save energy. It's really not that hard. You just to think about it and do it. Here's a few ideas on saving electricity and natural gas around your house:
- Shut off lights when not in use.
- Use fluorescent lights. Compact fluorescent bulbs can be used instead of regular incandescent bulbs. The price on compact fluorescent blubs has dropped and often utilities provide free or reduced price bulbs. Compact fluorescents use about one fourth the energy of an incandescent bulb for the same level of illumination.
- Shut off computers when not in use. There is not damage to modern computers in shutting them off frequently. Especially if you are away for an extended time, unplug modems, routers and other devices.
- Use energy efficient computers and monitors. Use flat panel monitors. Consider using a laptop more instead of a desktop. Smaller computers and monitors generally use less electricity.
- Shut off everyting else when not in use. E.g. televisions, radios and charging equipment.
- Avoid using air conditioning. Yes, try and not use it at all. Air conditioning is often the largest single user of electricity in a house. A few decades ago very few people had air conditioning and we survived. Granted in some parts of the country it gets very hot. Also, the elderly, sick and young may need it cooler. When needed use the air conditioner, but buy an efficient model. Compare the yellow Energy Guide labels. Consider a room air conditioner instead of cooling the entire house.
- When using an air conditioner set the thermostat at 78 degrees Farenheit or higher.
- Open the windows! Seems simple, but modern building design has largely eliminated windows that open! Perhaps it is necessary in a large building, but in your house or classroom opening the windows is often an alternative to using the air conditioning. Of course, if you have the air conditioning on, by all means close the windows!
- Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning. Fans are wonderful. They use a small fraction of the electricity that an air conditioner uses. While all fans tend to be energy efficient, some are more efficient than others. Look for the U.S. EPA Energy Star label. The Hampton Bay Gossamer Wind Series available at Home Depot is great. For example the Windward II uses 63.8 Watts at the highest setting, is quiet and pours out the air! It has a built in circular fluorescent light.
- Use whole house fans. Whole house fans are installed in a ceiling ofen in a hallway and suck air up into the attic and then out through the attic vents. They are wonderful in places like the San Diego area where it usually cools down greatly at night with the cool marine influence. The cool air from the outside replaces all of the warm air that has built up in the house and attic during the day.
- Use other fans. By now it should be obivious that fans are fantastic! Those old rotating style round fans, box fans, etc. all make it feel much cooler. By the way, shut off fans when you are not in the room. They do make it feel cooler but do not necessarily reduce the temperature. (But see whole house fans above.)
- Get an energy efficient refrigerator. This is huge!! Refrigerators are one of the largest users of electricity in a house. They come on througout the day, every day. Great strides have been made in recent years to make refrigerators much more energy efficient. If yours is more than ten years old, consider getting a new one. Don't over buy. You don't need the biggest refigerator possible. The standard freezer on top models are usually the most energy efficient. A 22 cubic foot model is fine for us even with two growing boys. All refrigerators are not created equal. Look for the energy star label. Compare the yellow energy use labels on different models. In the Summer of 2006 we got a new 21.6 cubic foot Sears Kenmore Elite top freezer Model 7420*40 / 7421*20 which uses 417 kilowatt hours per year. The range for similarly sized refrigerators at the time was 405 kWh/yr to 527 kWh/yr. It's a great machine and we noticed significantly reduced electricity usage after getting the refrigerator. Our old machine was about 12 years old.
- Turn your water heater down. Also use natural gas water heaters instead of electric. Also consider a tankless on demand water heater.
- Load up the dishwaster. Use full loads and energy efficient settings. When buying new dishwashers, compare energy use.
- Buy energy efficient front loading washing machines. We have a Kenmore model 417.43042200. We bought it a few years ago because it was the most efficient machine readily available at the time. There are similar G.E. and Frigidaire models, although the Kenmore had the best efficiency statistics. It has been great. Front loading machines use much less water and hence less energy is needed to heat the water. They also have a very fast spin cycle, squeezing out more water. Drying time and energy is also saved. Later we got the matching dryer which can stack on top of the washer. Great for tight places such as apartments.
- Use full laundry loads and low temperature settings. Full loads and warm wash/ cold rinse is all you need.
- Buy smart. In all your purchases, consider what the energy consumption is, both to make the item and in the time you use it. For example, when I buy an alarm clock, I check out what the electricity consumption is. Let's say one clock uses 6 Watts. At 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year, that clock uses 52,560 Watt hours, or about 53 kilowatt hours. Another clock using 1.5 Watts would uses 13,140 Watt hours, or about 13 kilowatt hours, 1/4 the amount of the other clock.
- Shut the heater off when not needed. Consider what you really need. It's okay if it is a little chilly. Put on a sweater. In Southern California, the heater is really only needed three or four months in the year. In climates like Southern California, try to leave it off at night. Unless freezing pipes or pets are a concern, turn it off when you leave.
- When using the heat, turn the thermostat to 68 degrees Farenheit or lower. At night consider 60 degrees Farenheit or lower, or in warmer climates like San Diego just shut it off when you go to bed.