Energy Efficient Living Part One
Everyone wants to save money, and many people actually care about the environment as well. The good news is you can do several energy efficient things to both save money and promote better habits for good old Mother Earth at the same time. Here's a list of energy saving techniques for you to use snow or shine.
- The number one most important energy saving technique that you can use is to improve the 'shell' of your house. This means ensuring that air from within the house is seeping out and external air is not seeping in. what this results in is heat loss and cold air intrusion in the winter and the opposite in the summer. Improving the shell involves several energy saving steps that can help prevent these dollars from flying out the window. Let's go through each one and explain the energy efficient way to live.
- Windows and doors- Windows should be energy efficient, meaning they should be sufficiently weather-proofed to prevent air from seeping in or out of cracks. Make sure cracks or gaps are caulked properly. Older windows can be replaced (though not just for the sake of saving energy, this is not cost effective) or boosted using weather stripping, storm windows, or window films. Door frames should also be sufficiently weather-proofed.
- Fire place- Your fire place is a big hole in your protective seal. Regardless of how well your house is insulated, if the fire place is letting in a lot of cold air (in the winter), your energy bills will sky rocket. Make sure the shoot is closed when not in use. When open, you can keep a glass screen in front of the fireplace to trap air outside.
- Attics, pull down stairs and anywhere air leaks in or out- These are also huge gaps in your energy saving shield. Insulation, insulation, insulation, seal the door properly etc..
- Clean or replace furnace filters regularly so your HVAC isn't doing unnecessary work.
- Older homes would benefit from planting large bushes or trees around the home (especially on the west side). The foliage will block sun light from pouring into your home and battling against your AC in the summer. The bare branches will allow that same light to heat your home in the winter. This is a similar idea as with a canvas awning that can be retracted for the winter.
- Improve your hot water system using proper insulation and pipe wrapping. Also, clean and replace filters regularly.
- Another bright energy saving idea is replacing incandescent lights with fluorescents. Fluorescents generally use 75% less electricity than incandescent lights do. They also last much longer, and, while the initial cost is more, the overall savings is astronomical. Alternatively, if you're not up for the switch, at least remember to shut off lights when a room is not in use. Don't be crazy, just efficient.
These are just a few of the many simple and smart energy saving tips you can use to keep your home and your world running smoother. Join us for part two of how to run an energy efficient home next week.