Efficient Lighting and Saving Energyby: David Miller
Saving energy has become more and more important as we learn about the effects of our consumption on the environment and our natural resources. We use energy everyday to power our homes and keep us comfortable, and there are many small changes that we can make in order to help reduce the amount of energy used. These small steps can help make our homes more green and reduce our energy consumption. The following is a going green guide for the home, but many of these tips can apply to other areas too, including school or work.
Energy Efficient Lighting
There are many different options available for us to choose from in terms of energy-efficient lighting, including the types of light bulbs we buy. One of the most effective options are energy-saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs. This type of light bulb uses 75% less energy than any other, and can be used with light dimmers. These light bulbs also last a lot longer, saving us money and reducing our waste in the long-term. In addition to choosing the right type of energy-efficient light bulb, it is important to follow several easy energy-saving tips.
Simple and sustainable practices can have a positive impact on the amount of energy our homes consume. Turning the lights off in a room when it is not in use is the simplest way to reduce energy consumption. Many households have found it useful to post small reminder signs next to the light switches in their homes to remind younger residents of the importance of turning off the lights as they leave. This little reminder can also help us to remember to make good, energy-saving choices outside of the home.
Turn Off Lights and Electronics
In addition to turning off the lights when leaving a room, it is important to turn off other electronics as well. Turning off the television, radios/stereos, and computers when they aren't in use is a great way to reduce energy use. These items, and other appliances, use energy even when not in use; so, if you will not be using electronics for an extended period of time, unplug them.
Shutting down a computer after using it or at the end of the day is easy and cuts down on the amount of energy we use. Even on standby, computers use a little bit of energy. When shutting down a computer, make sure to double-check with an adult that it is safe to unplug any surge protectors. Unplugging surge protectors and extension cords that have 4-6 outlets is also an easy way to reduce energy use, especially when leaving the house for a few days.
Heating and Cooling
We can keep our energy cost and use down and still have a comfortable home. When it is warm outside, turning off the heat and opening the windows and doors can help breathe new life into our homes with fresh air and naturally keep the house at a comfortable temperature. When it is really hot outside, keeping the shades drawn can help keep rooms cooler. Using fans, instead of air conditioning units, can also keep us cool, and use less energy.
During colder months, wearing warmer clothes and slippers can help keep us warm, allowing us to keep the thermostat set a few degrees cooler. While you're sleeping or out of the house, reducing the heat to 55 degrees can cut down on our energy use. Keep in mind, that while reducing our energy consumption is important, it is also important to make sure that any family members with health problems are comfortable. Little children and our grandparents may need it a bit warmer or cooler.
Saving Water Saves Energy
Using water uses energy, and there are a couple different ways we can use less, and reduce our energy consumption. Simple things like turning off the water until you are ready to rinse your hands when washing or brushing your teeth is a step in conserving water. Waiting until the dishwasher is full to run it and doing full loads of laundry can even reduce your water usage by 1,000 gallons per month! Washing laundry using cold water, instead of hot is also helpful, because it takes more energy to heat the water. It is our responsibility to do our part to reduce water and energy consumption in our homes, and family members of all ages can pitch in.
To learn more about what you and your family can do to reduce your energy use, check out the following resources:
- Basic Home Energy Savings
- EnergyStar Kids
- Watts Up? Energy Saving Tips
- Take Action: Energy Efficiency
- 10 Ways to Reduce Your Computer's Energy Consumption
- Top 10 Home Energy Saving Tips
- How to Reduce Energy Consumption
- The Home Energy Hog!
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