Originally Posted on August 18, 2016
The heat of summer is upon us and there are ways to stay comfortable and reduce your energy use at the same time. In addition to saving money, conserving energy and using energy more wisely will reduce your contribution of greenhouse gas emissions, mercury and other toxins that come from the coal burning power plants that power your air conditioner, lights and appliances.
Learning how you use energy allows you to target how to increase energy efficiency and conservation and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Heating and cooling make up almost half of household energy use; water heating the next biggest use at 13 per cent, followed by lighting at ten percent. The electricity used to power various appliances makes up the remainder.
Energy saving tips fall into three main categories: building structure, appliances and behavioral choices.
Here are some tips to save energy this summer:
- Hire a professional to inspect, clean, tune air conditioner. This should be done at minimum every three years and can increase the efficiency of your system by 25 per cent.
- Turn up your thermostat for the hours you are not in the house. Insulate your attic- R-50 optimum. A well-insulated attic helps to keep the heat out of your living space (and the cold too).
- Turn off or replace inefficient appliances and light bulbs. They use energy plus create excess heat. ENERGY STAR appliances are significantly more efficient than old appliances with an ENERGY STAR refrigerator using as little energy as one light bulb for a year. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are readily available in many styles including dimmable and 3-way, use 75 per cent less energy and produce 75 per cent less heat that incandescent bulbs.
- Install motion or light sensors on outdoor lights.
- Keep heat out and reduce your peak cooling demand by 10-15%.
- Use window shades to keep the heat of direct sun out.
- Consider more reflective, light-colored roofing and siding products when adding on to your home or replacing an existing roof.
- Increase your comfort range with fans. People feel more comfortable when there’s moving air and often can tolerate higher temperatures when a fan is operating. Ask about the energy draw of the fan, compare models for energy use, and ask for Energy Star rated fans. If the fan you choose has lights, be sure it accommodates compact fluorescent light bulbs!
- Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer when full and at night in off-peak hours.
- Consider installing solar hot water heat to offset up to 60% of your household water heating use.