Reduce Electricity Usage and Costs

Learn how to make your current home more eco-friendly and become familiar with the terms and concepts behind green building, so you can make educated decisions on that new home you’re looking to purchase.

The last couple blog entries covered the importance of sufficient insulation, dual-pane window installation, and using sustainable and recycled construction materials. Another major factor in energy expenditure is electricity. Electricity consumption is divided among several different household uses, including heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, lighting, running the washer and dryer, and other small electronic devices and systems.

The simplest way to reduce the amount of electricity used is to shut things off when you are not using them. Better yet, unplug appliances when they are idol. That means computers, printers, coffee pots, microwaves, lamps, video game players, and the TV. Complex electronics are especially good at sucking up energy when they are not in use, so if you’re really interested in decreasing your electricity expenditures–unplug it!

Then, get out your thermostat manual and actually learn how to program it to reflect your at-home schedule. That way you can set it and forget it, knowing the heater will turn itself down at night and when you and the family are at work or school. And don’t try to make it a tropical paradise in your house during the dead of winter… it would be nice, but it is also expensive! Instead, try to keep the indoor temperature around 65 max and throw on a sweater.

Just try it for a month and see the difference in your utility bill.

The refrigerator is one of the biggest household energy consumers, so it deserves special attention. First of all, the temp should be between 36-42 (with the freezer around zero). Next, dump the bad habits like standing in front of the fridge with the door open while you’re deciding what to eat or making excessive trips back to the fridge when cooking–try to get everything you need out of the fridge at one time instead. Use a vacuum to clean the condenser coils (found at the bottom of the refrigerator behind the footer vent) to ensure the appliance is free of debris and operating effectively and economically.

Those are some of the quick fixes, but there are even more innovative green ideas and products you can incorporate into your home, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances, that will help save you money AND help preserve the environment.