Many people chose to make their homes energy efficient for various reasons, from lowering their electricity bill to reducing their personal dependency on fossil fuels. With October, which is Energy Awareness Month, right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reassess your family’s electricity use and commit to running a more energy-efficient household.
What Does it Mean to Be Energy Efficient?
Efficient energy use, or energy efficiency, means striving to achieve the same results by using less energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Texas alone consumes 365.1 TWh (Terawatt per hour), which makes up 10 percent of total U.S. consumption.
The goal is to reduce the energy required to operate appliances or devices by incorporating or implementing a different kind of technology. For example, if you invest in improved home insulation, it requires less energy than using a heating and cooling unit to create a balanced temperature.
If you’re interested in reducing your personal energy use, you may want to consider the following tactics:
Buy EnergyStar Appliances
The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) run a national energy efficiency program. It offers information on the energy consumption of products, and you can find the trademark on more than 75 product categories that earn their certification. EnergyStar appliances use less energy to run as compared to other devices, and their products include:
- Appliances– Dishwashers, fryers, ovens, clothes dryers, dehumidifiers, freezers, refrigerators, and air cleaners.
- Electronics– Set-top boxes, telephones, televisions, and other audio/video products.
- Cooling and Heating– Split air conditioners, thermostats, boilers, central air conditioners, ventilating fans, and heat pumps (ducted and ductless).
- Fans and Lightings– Light bulbs, light fixtures, light strings, and ceiling fans.
Unplug What You’re Not Using
There are many names for standby power, including vampire power, ghost power, ghost loads, and leaking electricity. Many appliances pull or consume energy even when they’re on standby mode. So, although you may not be using an appliance, it still pulls energy as long as it’s plugged in. These are the top five vampire appliances:
- Set-top boxes and cable boxes
- Household items that have clocks, such as microwaves, DVD players
- LED and LCD televisions (larger screen require more energy to operate)
- Surround-sound systems for home theaters
- Computers and computer equipment, such as routers or modems
The best way to stop vampire power or ghost loads is to turn off and unplug all devices, including mobile chargers, computer equipment, and gaming systems, when not in use. You can also use power strips to turn off multiple appliances at once.
Try Solar Energy
Solar energy derives from solar panels that capture the sun’s energy and converts it to electricity or heating for your home. It’s an energy source that doesn’t just lower your electricity bills but also reduces carbon emission in the environment.
Photovoltaic conversion (PV) directly converts solar energy into electricity after collecting it from the surface. There are many reasons to try out solar energy; for one, it reduces your dependency on the National Grid. It’s renewable energy, and you can store excess in a solar battery for rainy days.
If you’re looking for residential solar energy in TX, you may find your options expensive initially, but the investment will likely prove worthwhile when you see your reduced monthly bills.
Seal Your Windows
Although your windows may be closed, there is always a gap between the window and wall frame. Depending on the season, you should cover the inside of windows to prevent heat from escaping in winter and the cold air in summer. You can also consider adding window coverings or window quills to insulate and seal your home from the inside. Alternatively, you could seal off and invest in pull-down blinds to reduce heat loss during chilly months.
Swap Out Light Bulbs for a Greener Option
Incandescent light bulbs consume electricity to produce heat, and they also exude significant amounts of carbon dioxide. The best way to reduce carbon emissions and your electricity bills is to try LED, halogen, and CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps. They use less energy to provide the same amount of light and have higher durability than incandescent light bulbs.
Small but Meaningful Changes
While these changes may seem small, they can add up to make a big difference, especially if you bring others on board. If you encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to take the time to reevaluate your energy efficiency this Energy Awareness Month, you can do your part to create a greener world.