Of course, we want to make our homes as green as possible in order to reduce our impact on the environment. However, in the current climate of energy crisis and inflation, everything you can do to reduce your energy bill is a welcome change.
Those two reasons combined should really make you think of optimizing your house for the least amount of energy usage possible.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve it.
LED bulbs are a major energy saver
LED stands for a light emitting diode. That’s why it’s wrong to say LED diode - it’s like saying CD disk. A LED bulb is a large collection of LEDs in a plastic enclosure. It’s essentially many little lamps all working together to create a strong light source.
In comparison to old incandescent bulbs, which use electricity to heat a piece of wire until it luminates, LED bulbs are more durable, last longer, and disperse better quality light. The most important thing is - they use a lot less energy.
Residential LED bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional iridescent bulbs while lasting 25 times longer.
A single LED is actually no larger than a piece of confetti. LEDs of different colors can be combined to create almost any color in the spectrum, while white ones are usually a combination of red, green and blue ones.
But what makes them so efficient?
They’re much better at pointing light in a certain direction, which reduces the need for diffusers and reflectors. Secondly, they emit much less heat than iridescent light bulbs. This is the key to their energy efficiency - a lot less thermal energy is wasted, and almost all of it goes directly to producing light.
Even if they are a bit more expensive than regular bulbs at the moment, they pay for themselves with their efficiency. Their prices are dropping at a steady rate as well, so we can expect them to replace incandescent bulbs completely in the near future.
Check windows and doors for drafts
Bad insulation is one of the biggest contributors to a large heating bill. Well sealed doors and windows keep a home cool in the summer and hot in the winter. Temperature control is next to impossible with drafty windows and doors.
There are a lot of reasons why windows and doors get drafty. If you’ve bought an old, pre-owned house, chances are the previous residents didn’t take proper care of the insulation. Over time, humidity and temperature changes affect the rubber sealants. They get brittle and dry and finally, start letting air through.
There are many ways to check the insulation on your fixtures. You can wait for a time of day when the sun shines directly on them. Close the blinds, and turn off all the lights on the inside. The sun will show you where your weak points are as little beams of light shine through the cracks. Another way to do it is the candle test. Take a candle and slowly move it around the windows and doors. The flame will flutter anywhere where there’s a breeze.
There are many solutions to this problem. You can lock up your windows - this will ensure that the seals are much tighter. You can use caulk. Even though it’s not that difficult to use, you may want to call in a professional. The energy savings will make up for the cost in a season. You can put heavy drapes and think sheer curtains on your windows.
If you’ve got money to spare and the situation is in dire condition, you can reglaze or replace your windows completely. Storm windows provide excellent insulation against not only drafts but from extreme stormy weather as well.
Pick appliances with the ENERGY STAR seal of approval
The ENERGY STAR rating is the official, government-backed symbol that guarantees an appliance is an efficient energy consumer. Millions of dollars are saved every year by consumers and businesses alike, simply because of the fact that they’ve bought a product with an ENERGY STAR rating.
The ENERGY STAR rating can be applied to everything that you can plug into a wall - from air conditioners, heaters, and refrigerators to washers, dryers, and TVs. If you’re shopping for a new appliance for your home, finding one with an energy star rating will pay its dividends in the course of the guarantee.
Switch to a programmable thermostat
Depending on the quality of the installation, set up and the way you use it, a programmable thermostat can cut down your energy bill considerably. By making the temperature control automatic, you can optimize it much more finely than doing it by hand.
ENERGY STAR reports state that installing a programmable thermostat can save you $180 on your energy bill over a year. Seeing as though the market price for one is around $100 currently, this is more than a sound investment.
A general rule of thumb - turn down the heating or cooling roughly an hour before you go to sleep and restore it roughly 30 minutes before you’re likely to wake up. Avoid large and frequent temperature swings- these can raise the energy bill. Of course, try to avoid heating the house while you’re away. Try to incorporate your work hours into the thermostat’s program.
Most energy-saving decisions you can make boil down to paying a bit more at the outset to ensure that you stay efficient in the long run. Buying an appliance that has a good energy usage rating may seem like a small thing at first, and the higher price tag may dissuade you from buying it. However, over the course of a longer time frame, say a couple of years, it’s simple math - you’ll be paying less.
Energy conservation is no longer just a ‘green’ issue - we’re in the midst of a worldwide energy crisis. It’s best that you pre-empt the situation and start conserving energy before we’ve completely run out of it.