Energy efficiency in the home usually focuses on appliances purchases. While this is an important part of conserving power, there are a number of other considerations to make such as the type of heating system used, windows and doors installed, and the way all of these items are used once they are in the home.
When choosing heating systems, a natural gas system is a better option for maintaining energy efficiency than electricity or wood. Natural gas also provides a more environmentally friendly option than wood or coal-produced electricity.
Many electric companies are already investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar, to improve long-term sustainability and energy efficiency. Renewable energy can also be integrated directly into the home. For example, when building a new home, large south-facing windows can be installed to capture solar energy and supplement the heating system.
Using Hot Water
Hot water, which accounts for about a third of energy usage in the home, is a great place to start conservation. To reduce this cost, start by reducing the temperature of the heater. Most hot water heaters are set to a temperature that is higher than necessary. Check around the heater to make sure that valves are sealed and the pipes are insulated to minimize energy loss. Finally, reduce hot water usage by taking measure such as doing laundry in cold water and taking shorter showers.
Energy Efficiency and Lighting
Using the lights accounts for about 10% of energy usage. Simply turning them off when a room is not in use can help to reduce these costs but other improvements can be made. Just as with heating a home, installing large windows helps to improve natural lighting indoors, reducing the need to flip the switch. Newer, energy-efficient bulbs will also lower energy costs and do not need to be replaced as often. For outdoor lighting, using a timer or motion sensor will keep lights from staying on when not needed.
Other Ways to Conserve Energy
Choosing energy-efficient appliances and turning off the lights when leaving a room are important ways to conserve energy in the home. However, there are other, equally important ways to improve energy usage which include turning off the television or computer when not in use or resisting the urge to open the oven door to peek at dinner before it’s finished.