Ways to improve energy usage in your home
Use appliances and electronics responsibly
Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills.
The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:
- Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.
- Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.
Insulate Windows and Doors:
- Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.
- Windows can be weather stripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, apply weather stripping around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they’re closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if they aren’t already in place.
- Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window
Seal and insulate your home
Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills.
The following are some common places where leakage may occur:
- electrical receptacles/outlets;
- mail slots;
- around pipes and wires;
- wall-mounted or window-mounted air conditioners;
- attic hatches;
- fireplace dampers;
- inadequate weather stripping around doors;
- window frames; and
- switch plates.
Change the way you do laundry:
- Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the setting saves less than half of the water energy used for a full load.
- Avoid using high-temperature settings when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140° F uses far more energy than 103° F for the warm-water setting, but 140° F isn’t that much effective getting clothes clean.
- Clean the lint trap every time you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but it will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.
- If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines racks.
- Spin-dry or wring clothes out before putting them into a dryer.
The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:
- Convection ovens are more efficient that conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.
- Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
Pans should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame.
- Using lids on pots and pans will heat food quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.
- Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.
Install efficient shower heads and toilets
The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:
- Low-flow shower heads: They are available in different flow rates, and some have a pause button which shuts off the water while the bather lathers up;
- Low-flow toilets: Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. Replacing an older 3.5 gallon toilet with a modern, low-flow 1.6 gallon toilet can reduce usage an average of 2 gallons per flush (GPF), saving 12,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow toilets usually have “1.6 GPF” marked on the bowl behind the seat or inside the tank;
- Vacuum-assist toilets: This type of toilet has a vacuum chamber uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl, allowing it to quickly fill with water to clear waste.
- Dual-flush toilets: Have options for low flush or high flush to conserve water.
Replace incandescent lights
The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights only convert approximately 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:
- CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- LEDs last even than CFLs and consume less energy.
- LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury
Find better ways to heat and cool your home!
As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:
- Install a ceiling fan: Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy.
- Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters.
- Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature: Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F, for example, saves about 10% on heating costs.
- Install a wood stove or a pellet stove: These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces.
- At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room
Energy efficient products guide
ENERGY STAR: This symbol identifies products and appliances that qualify as the best energy performers on the market. ENERGY STAR certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance– tested and certified. You can look for the ENERGY STAR symbol on the following:
- Water Heaters
- Windows and Doors
- Office Equipment
HE (High-Efficiency): All front loading washing machines are HE and use low-water levels in the wash and rinse process. Top-loading washers that are labeled “HE” use low-water volume wash cycles. At lower water levels, cleaning problems can occur if detergents create too many suds or if soils from the laundry can’t be completely rinsed out of both the laundry and the washer. Thus, detergents for HE washers need to be lower sudsing than regular detergents to provide good cleaning and thorough rinsing.
LED (Light-emitting diode): LED lights are super energy efficient, using approximately 85% less energy than halogen or incandescent lighting— meaning significant savings on your power bills/ LED lights also have a much longer lifespan than other types of lighting.
EnerGuide: is the official mark of the Government of Canada for its energy performance rating and labeling program for key consumer items—houses, light-duty vehicles, and certain energy-using products. The information provided by EnerGuide allows consumers to compare different models with confidence. The data may be a rating number based on a standard measure or a verified average of energy consumption