Energy Efficient Homes
We hear the term energy efficiency a lot nowadays. Whether it be on an advertisement for a new appliance, our heating bill, or our new POTUS. But what does it mean to be energy efficient? Energy efficiency is simple using less energy to do the same task. You are simply doing more with less. Energy efficiency brings a variety of benefits: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing demand for energy imports, and lowering our costs on a household and economy-wide level. While renewable energy technologies also help accomplish these objectives, improving energy efficiency is the cheapest – and often the most immediate – way to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Because of energy efficiency, electricity demand in New England has stayed flat the last few years, even though we all have more electronic devices and our homes and businesses use more power.
Energy consumption has grown incredibly fast over the last few decades. We are in danger of using up the planet’s natural resources, destroying vital habitats and polluting the air we need to breathe. The more energy we use, the more carbon emissions are pumped into the atmosphere and the more our reserves of natural resources such as oil, coal and gas are depleted. The global economy is based heavily on these resources, and as they dwindle their cost will increase, causing financial imbalances around the world and resulting in energy poverty in many areas of society. Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for everyday necessities like heating and hot water, so it makes sense to be energy efficient. That way you fulfill your energy needs while paying as little as possible.
If you want to know how to be more energy efficient, the first place to start is in your own home. I know when I was growing up, my dad was always on us for leaving the TV or lights on when not in the room. Though his intent was to save money on the electric bill, the first rule of saving electricity is: don’t leave appliances on standby. If you're not using it, turn it off and unplug it (when applicable.) Another easy way to become more energy efficient is to start using rechargeable batteries and energy efficient light bulbs. Energy-efficient bulbs use up to 80% less electricity than traditional light bulbs and can keep going for ten times as long. Another trick to try it to cut down the cost of heating your home. If you’ve had your boiler for more than 15 years, it’s probably time to consider upgrading to a newer, more eco-friendly model. Make sure your thermostat and boiler are communicating properly, fit individual thermostats on radiators, and get a control system that lets you switch off the heating remotely if necessary. Winterize your home and when the time is right, replace old windows and doors. Check to make sure your electrical appliances work as efficiently as possible. It isn’t energy efficient to throw out all your old products and replace them with new, energy-saving items; instead, wait until they wear out and then replace them. Next week I’ll be covering the top rated energy efficient appliances. Don’t forget to stop back in and check that one out!