Guide to Home Energy Efficiency

More and more people have growing concerns about the environment and they are interested to learn how to protect it. Making your home energy efficient is one way to help the environment. Since most of these tips will save you money in the long run anyway, making your home energy efficient is the smart thing to do.

Efficiency of Appliances and Lighting

It may be blatantly obvious but one of the best ways to really make sure your home is energy efficient is to make sure that the electronics and appliances that you buy are energy efficient. To do this, check the labels on any appliances you buy and look for those with the government’s Energy Star label. This label applies to home appliances and is proof that the appliance has been certified to meet very strict energy criteria set by the U.S. Department of Energy. Older appliances are much less energy efficient than even the worst of today’s newer appliances, so upgrading your appliances is one of the best ways to make sure that your home is energy efficient. The biggest energy culprits in homes are washers, dryers, computers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters. Try to use these large appliances in off-peak energy hours and always make sure you turn your lights and computers off after you’re done using them.

There are also things you can do when it comes to using electricity itself. You can start purchasing your energy from a company that sells “green power,” which is electricity generated by using renewable energy resources. You can invest in a system that makes electricity to help lower your electricity costs and at the same time lowers pollution. Then, you can just reduce your overall electricity use. This includes doing things like purchasing energy efficient products like fluorescent light bulbs. These use only about 25%-30% of the energy that incandescent bulbs use to produce the same amount of light, so they are far better for the home. They also tend to last longer.

Another important way to conserve energy is to unplug any appliances that are not in use. Even though these devices may be powered off, they still drain resources. This is known as phantom energy loss. Many appliances use small to moderate amounts of energy to power a clock or maintain settings. Simply unplug appliances (that can stand to be unplugged) when not in use - the biggest "energy vampires" are televisions, computers, DVD players, and video game systems.

Renewable and Alternative Energy

Biomass energy is produced by turning organic matter such as trees and crops and even certain types of garbage into energy by burning it. This kind of energy does not increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it helps dispose of waste that could create environmental risks. It’s still one of the rarest forms of energy to find in the home.

Solar energy is much more familiar. Solar panels can be installed on any surface that gets sun. They are left to soak up sun and store the energy. Then, a special filtering system channels that energy throughout your house, providing you with all the power you need. Users of solar energy save a lot of money every year and some even have so much excess energy that they can sell it back to electric companies.

Wind energy is produced by wind going through wind machines, allowing energy to be stored in special storage containers. This energy is then transferred in ways similar to how normal electricity is transferred. Some people own wind vanes but most people purchase wind energy from people who run wind power farms. The cost of this type of energy differs from place to place, depending on many factors.

Hydropower is water energy that’s generated by motion. It’s one of the most common sources of energy in the country and accounts for 71% of renewable energy generated in 2007. It’s relatively easy to obtain hydropower because most of it comes from manmade dams where its water flow can be controlled. The only thing that really impacts hydropower sources is droughts.

Environmental Sustainability

The human race is continually striving for environmental sustainability. In other words, people want to maintain the planet’s health at the same time that they are using its energy. Right now, the human way of life is unsustainable because the natural resources will run out soon. In order to improve the chances of environmental sustainability, the world has to become energy efficient. People have to waste less energy, find better ways of producing it, and stop harvesting resources faster than they can be replaced. They also have to stop polluting the planet with waste and carbon monoxide. The best way to do this is to start with your home. Pick cars that don’t use as much fossil fuels, pick appliances that are designed to conserve energy, and get your energy from a source that’s renewable. These are the best ways to promote environmental stability.

Power Generation

Another thing you can do to help make your home energy efficient is to start producing your own energy. There are different systems you can choose from: solar systems, wind energy systems, water or biomass systems. Even if you only install a small system, generating power in your home is one of the best ways to make your home energy efficient.

For more information on saving energy in your home, please visit he following resources:

  • Government Energy Savers Site
  • How Biomass Energy Works
  • Residential Energy Saving Tips
  • Home Energy Saver
  • Energy Star Site
  • Home Improvement Tips
  • Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings
  • U.S. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Page
  • Solar Energy Technology Primers
  • The Energy Story - Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy Basics
  • Hydropower

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