Efficient Lighting and Other Ways to Save Energy
Saving energy has become increasingly important, as recent research has made it clear that the world's energy consumption is negatively impacting the environment and natural resources. Each day, we use energy to keep our homes comfortable, but there are some small changes that we can all make in order to reduce the amount of energy that we use. By following a few tips, you can reduce your energy consumption and environmental footprint.
Choose Energy-Efficient Lighting Options
When searching for energy-efficient lighting design options, there is a large selection available. Compact fluorescent bulbs are a great option, as they use up to 75% less energy than other choices, and they can also be used with dimmers and wall sconces. Compact fluorescent bulbs have a long life span, reducing your waste and saving money over the life of the bulb.
While choosing the right type of light is important for energy efficiency, you should also work on energy-saving activities at home. Keep notes near the light switches in each room to remind residents of all ages to turn off the lights when they leave a room. These simple reminders can also help your family to make positive, energy-saving decisions when they are outside of your home.
- Energy-Efficient vs. Traditional Light Bulbs – A comparison of energy-efficient and traditional incandescent light bulbs.
- Energy Saving for Kids – Informative tips to help kids use and save energy.
- Energy Efficiency and Dimmer Switches – A review of the benefits of using dimmer switches to save energy at home.
- Energy-Efficient Lighting Options – An examination of the benefits to choosing LED or CFL light bulbs.
- The Best Light Bulbs for Saving Energy – Consumer Reports provides a guide to choosing LEDs and CLFs.
Use Solar Lighting
If you are looking for an energy-efficient way to power your home, investigate with an architect whether solar lighting may be able to work for you. Solar panels are made of solar cells that are arranged in grid-like patterns, and during the day, they collect sunlight and use it to create electricity. You'll be producing your own power, so your energy bills will be dramatically lowered. However, not all buildings will be good candidates for using solar panels, so some architecture research will be needed before you can pursue this option.
Your solar energy system can also inspire others to begin producing energy, which can increase the total amount of renewable energy that is available. This makes solar energy a great way to make a difference, to improve the environment, and to become self-sufficient.
- Solar Panel Lifespan – Information from Energy Informative about the lifespan of solar panels.
- Solar Energy Savings – A review of how much you can save with solar energy.
- Solar Energy Resource Center – Information from the U.S. Department of Energy about solar power.
- Solar Tips for Homeowners – ABC News provides tips for homeowners who are considering solar energy.
- Tips for Going Solar – Forbes Magazine explains tips for adopting solar energy at home.
Improve Your HVAC Systems
When it comes to home climate control systems, many homeowners struggle to find a balance between comfort and energy efficiency. During the summer, you may be tempted to turn on the air conditioner immediately, but a few tips can actually help before you resort to this method. If it isn't too warm, open the windows and let some fresh air into your home. However, if it is hot, keep the shades drawn and use fans to circulate air throughout your home.
During cooler winter months, wear additional layers to keep warm, and set your thermostat a few degrees cooler. Reduce the heat while you are out of the house or asleep, and turn it back up when you get home from work. However, it is important to consider the health needs of your family, as some people with chronic medical conditions may need their climate more rigorously controlled than others.
- Air Conditioner Tips – Cooling and energy saving tips for air conditioner use from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Air Conditioner Efficiency – Tips for improving the efficiency of your air conditioner.
- Winter-Proofing and Weatherizing – Save energy by preparing your home for colder temperatures.
- Saving Energy during the Winter – Tips from the California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center.
- Heat Pumps – Suggestions for improving the energy efficiency of your home heating system.
Using water in your home will also use energy. However, there are several ways that you can reduce your water use in order to lessen energy consumption. Consider simple solutions, like turning off the water in your bathroom sink until you are ready to rinse when brushing your teeth. Choose a shower over a bath in order to conserve water, and wait until your dishwasher is full before you run a load; this tip on its own could reduce your water use by nearly 1,000 gallons each month.
Also consider using cold water as often as possible. It takes a lot of energy to heat up the water used for showering, to do laundry, or to wash your dishes, so by keeping the water cold, you'll save energy. These tips can be followed by family members both young and old, and they can make a big difference on your monthly energy bills.
- Water Conservation Tips for Saving Energy – Information from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on how to save energy by conserving water.
- 49 Ways to Save Water – Simple tips for saving and conserving water used indoors.
- Saving Water at Work – How to save water in commercial and industrial workplaces.
- Conserving Water at Home and in the Yard – Tips for reducing your water use indoors and outdoors.
- Saving Water in the Bathroom – Changes that you can make to reduce your water usage in the bathroom.
Turn Off Electronics and Lights
Turning off lights and electronics when you leave a room is an essential activity for saving money and energy. Switch off your computer, radio, and TV when the items are not in use, as they will burn up energy. If you have appliances or other items that you don't use regularly, consider unplugging them to prevent wasted energy.
At the end of the day, turn off your computer in order to cut down the amount of energy that it is using. Many homeowners don't go through the hassle of shutting down their laptop or desktop each night, but even a computer on standby will use energy. If you are going to be away from home for a few days, unplug extension cords and surge protectors in order to further reduce your home energy use. By taking the time to complete these extra steps, you'll be rewarded with lower energy bills.
- Energy and Computer Use – How to conserve energy when using a computer.
- Tips for Finding Energy-Efficient Appliances – The Natural Resources Defense Council provides tips for choosing energy-efficient appliances that will save you money.
- Energy-Efficient Home Improvements – This article from US News explains ten easy home improvement tips to improve energy efficiency.
- Turning off the Lights – The U.S. Department of Energy explains when you should turn off your lights.
- Five Reasons to be Energy-Efficient – The Alliance to Save Energy explains the top five reasons that you should be energy-efficient.