Energy Efficiency in the home: The best small things to carry out?
I recently posed this question to a number of energy efficiency expert groups. I have a pretty good idea of what I believe are the most effective measures you can carry out easily without breaking the bank; however,I thought I would engage with the experts in the field to get their very honest opinions.
Rather than listening to me blather on about it I will reproduce snippets from my favourite quotes. They are in no particular order of importance nor is the list exhaustive. You will however, hopefully, find them useful, there is some real low hanging fruit here.
I may revisit some of these tips in future blogs if an interest is expressed.
So in no particular order here goes; a selection of the best small things you can do to reduce your energy bill:
Cooking with induction rings and cookers
"I'm now doing 50% of all our cooking on a portable single burner induction unit. It has some shortcomings, such as a fairly small effective coil and a moderately noisy fan, but for under $100 I get induction cooking. I can't say enough about it - effectively instant heat and superb efficiency."
Switch and outlet gaskets
"Electric switch and outlet gaskets. Foam gasket that seals the opening around the switch or outlet boxes. Simple and cheap, remove plate cover, install gasket, replace cover. This will help air infiltration / exfiltration."
Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators
"Simply changing out your standard max 2.5 GPM shower heads with max. 1.5 or 1.6 GPM models instantly slashes domestic hot water cost by roughly 1/3! Most customers report they find them just as satisfying as their older units following a brief adjustment period."
Change those filters!
"Change out the AC filters on a regular schedule. Half the homes I look at have completely clogged filters."
"We have a front load washer dryer with a dampness sensor, this makes a big big difference."
The old favourite, light bulbs!
"One of the aspects sometimes missed for bulbs that "run for only five minutes" (closets, attics, etc.) is that sometimes those bulbs get left on until the user next enters the lit space...which might be days or weeks later. In cases where a bulb may be needed only a few minutes per day but is vulnerable to being inadvertently left on for days at a time, a CFL or LED is still a good investment."
The Whopper, energy meters and awareness!
"Several years ago, after attacking the 'big things' in my own home, I bought an early version of the Kill-A-Watt power monitor. Here are some of the little things I've discovered over the years, which led to painless energy savings:
- Turn off outdoor lights when not needed *
- Got rid of old DISH DVR (45 watts whether off or on) - 400 kWh/yr.
- Replace refrigerator (TBD) - 400+ kWh/yr.
- Aggressive use of DHW timer - 300 kWh/yr.
- Replaced rear projection TV (CRT) with LCD TV - 200 kWh/yr.
- Started regular use of standby mode on desktop - 180 kWh/yr.
- Unplug chargers and other wall warts when not in use - 150 kWh/yr.
- Replaced DSL modem & router - 100 kWh/yr.
- Turn on printer only as needed (rarely) - 60 kWh/yr.
- Turn on PC speakers / sub-woofer only as needed - 50 kWh/yr.
- Unplugged VCR (never used anyway) - 50 kWh/yr
* Actually, I never did this, but several neighbors leave outdoor lights on all night. I estimate this adds about 1,000 kWh/yr to their electric bill. Seeing this is like the sound of scratching fingernails on a chalkboard. It also adds to light pollution (I'm an amateur astronomer)."
The bane of the energy auditor, windows!
"Remove window air conditioners at the end of the season. It is amazing how many I see left in windows year-round. Maybe the occupants are elderly, but for whatever reason these are huge air leakers (even through the space between sashes since the window is not closed)."
Finally my favourite suggestion, put a sweater on!
"Instead of turning on the air-conditioner at the first instance you feel hot, how about removing some items of clothing or opening windows. Similarly, instead of using the heater to keep warm, try putting on a sweater first."
OK, not quite finished! Although, this is not directly an energy measure it is arguably much more important than anything above...Education!
"Some individuals do not pay for their energy which can make one complacent and unaware of the bigger picture. Education is key!."
"Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand."
Many thanks for reading this
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