face it: Most of us are energy wasters. As a society, we’ve
come to expect the comfort and convenience that fuel/energy-guzzling
appliances provide, despite the rising costs and negative environmental
effects. Even though there is undeniable proof of global warming,
many of us believe that the problem is too big for individuals to
have an impact. This is the wrong mentality. The energy we use to
heat and light our homes often comes from coal-burning power plants,
which release massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into our atmosphere.
Greenhouse gasses do not let the suns infrared waves reflect back
into space. Rather, they become trapped in our atmosphere –
thereby drastically raising the average temperature over the last
hundred years. CO2 is the most prominent greenhouse gas; since its
inception, we’ve seen the ice caps diminish and the ocean levels
increase, to name a few consequences. However, there are simple energy
efficient home ideas that not only save you money on your energy bills;
they also help save our environment.
It’s important to buy appliances with the Energy Star logo.
Energy Star is a label created by the Environmental Protection Agency,
designated to products that use energy efficiently without producing
harmful greenhouse gasses. Although it’s possible to find almost
any product with the Energy Star tag (clock radios, computers, hair
dryers, etc.), new heating systems are some of the most important.
Furnaces built before 1992 only use about 50-60% of their energy-input
to create heat – which is highly inefficient, costly, and the
exhaust from these old systems contributes directly to global warming.
Energy Star furnaces and boilers, however, utilize 85% of their energy
input. If you’re relying on an old furnace, it may be time to
replace it – a costly decision, but it will save you money in
the long run.
You can apply energy efficient home ideas to your lighting as well.
Most of us still use incandescent light bulbs in our home, even when
fluorescent lights utilize energy much more efficiently. They are
such energy-wasters that many governments have begun to ban them (Brazil,
Venezuela, Australia, and Canada). However, General Electric has developed
a high-efficiency incandescent lamp which is four times as efficient
as a standard bulb.
Seemingly-simple energy efficient home ideas will save you big bucks
on your next energy bill. For example, unplugging appliances while
you are gone will reduce costs. Many appliances will drain power,
even if they’re not on (TiVos and DVRs consume the same amount
of power when they’re off as they do when they’re on).
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends using power strips –
rather than having to constantly plug and unplug machines, you can
just flip the switch on the power strip and turn everything off at
once. Even using lamps or providing selective lighting can help curb
your energy consumption – there is no need to light an entire
room if you are engaged in activities like reading or working on a