While we all use energy differently, in general, the most energy is used for heating and cooling the home, with hot water coming in second.
Good energy habits can help you save. Here are five simple tips to save money and energy… which helps our environment and keeps the green in your wallet.
1. In the kitchen: Make sure your fridge is full! Full fridges and freezers use less energy, so fill up your fridge so it can recover its internal temperature more quickly after being opened. But remember to leave enough space around food items to allow circulation of cold air.
2. Around the home: Use your blinds and drapes. In the winter, open your blinds during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home, then close them at night to minimize heat loss. In the summer, keep them closed during the day to block out the heat.
3. Home appliances: Electricity demand is greatest during the day. Running major appliances at night or in the early morning will put less strain on the electricity grid. Ask your electricity provider when the cheapest rates are. Our rates literally are cut in half after 7pm, so that is when I do laundry! Continue reading “5 Simple Tips to Save Money and Energy”
After making sure that the attic was well insulated, that windows were caulked and drafts were blocked, and getting my family to pay attention to how the thermostat was set, I was ready to try a bigger, and consequently more expensive, experiment.
I decided to install solar panels on my home.
Was it worth it? Well, here are the results.
My home is fairly large, a little over 4,000 square feet (we have a big family that needs quite a bit of space), so the photovoltaic solar panel array that we installed was commensurately large. Where I live, our electricity usage is charged in three tiers. The lowest tier covers what is considered a small baseline usage, the first 250 kilowatt hours in a given month. The second tier comprises the next 500 kilowatt hours, and the third and priciest tier is everything over tiers one and two. The solar panel array was sized to target and largely eliminate the third tier in the summer months when the air conditioning would be running the most. In months in which the solar panels generated more electricity than we used, we got a credit for the power we sent back to the grid, effectively selling that power back to the utility. I admit, I really enjoyed those days when I could go out and see my electric meter spinning backwards. Continue reading “My Experience With Solar Panels”
Here is the last in our weekly series of excerpts from the EBook, “6 Weeks to a Greener Lifestyle.” See the note at the end of this post for more information. — Paula
Even if you are a seriously dedicated DIY (do it yourself) enthusiast, you are best served in the long-run by hiring a professional to perform a home audit. A well-done audit requires special knowledge and skills, and even some special equipment.
Special recommendation: check with your local utility provider to see what audit services it provides or recommends. Often your local utility will offer a free home audit (mine does). If so, this is a great way to get a start on improving the energy and water efficiency of your home without spending a dime out-of-pocket.
A high-quality auditor will visit the location and do a complete and formal inspection of the property. They might request utility bills from the previous year, and they will assess each and every system and appliance in the home. Their goal will be to show the homeowner how to reduce the costs permanently while also making the home much greener. Remember, this is not some sort of mold or toxin inspection, or some other form of home inspection, for that matter. It is simply an energy usage assessment, which will involve a look at everything from doors and windows to light bulbs and caulking. Continue reading “EBook Excerpt: The Professional Home Audit”
If you want to save energy in your home, it pays to focus on the biggest energy users – the energy hogs. What are those energy hogs? In order, here are the most voracious porkers that are driving up your electricity bill:
- Air Conditioner (AC): Far and away the biggest energy drain you have.
- Refrigerator: This is the second biggest energy hog in your home, largely because it runs 24/7.
- Washer and Dryer: These two appliances have a larger impact than the dishwasher.
By focusing on how to use these appliances more efficiently, you can cut your electric bill significantly. Here’s how.
1. Set your thermostat wisely, according to the season and when you are actually at home. By maintaining the temperature in your home a few degrees warmer in the summer months, you will save a surprising amount. Keep the thermostat around 80 degrees F if you are at work or will be away from home for an extended period (e.g. vacation). Even better, consider investing in a programmable thermostat that will make the adjustments for you automatically. Continue reading “Energy Hogs in the Home and How to Tame Them”
How do you know when it “pays” to replace a kitchen appliance? Conventional wisdom says wait until it stops working, or until it needs a repair that costs more than the unit is worth.
Efficient performance is the new holy grail, as more smart consumers make choices based on real-life operating cost, as well as features. Recently-built appliances by reliable US companies now can pay for themselves in energy and water savings in as little as 5 years. If your current models are older than 10, they could be costing you between $125-$150 per year in operating costs (verifiable with home energy monitor kits). That’s like paying for a $100+ repair every other year! Continue reading “Green Kitchen Appliances”