Saving energy is not just the smart and responsible thing to do, it can also save money. There are many ways to save energy. Here are a few:
1) Buy Energy Star products
When it’s time to replace an appliance or a piece of electronic equipment, buy something with the Energy Star logo on it. Items carrying the blue Energy Star logo have been certified by the EPA as using 20 to 30 percent less energy than required by federal standards. It is now even possible to buy buildings with the Energy Star label.
2) Recycle everything you can
There are many more options for recycling than there used to be. Some communities have single-stream recycling, in which the homeowner doesn’t have to sort their recyclables but puts everything in a special blue trash can to be picked up. It’s the people at the recycling center who do the sorting. Additionally, more things than ever can be recycled. Some electronics companies like Best Buy offer recycling services. When you buy a new computer from them, they’ll take the old one off your hands.
3) Get CFL or LED lights
If you haven’t already, replace any incandescent lights you have with compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light- emitting diodes (LED). CFLs last about 10 times longer than do conventional bulbs and use about a quarter of the energy. LEDs are admittedly expensive, but they last about 25 times longer than do conventional bulbs. That means when you buy an LED, it will be years before you have to replace it. If you can’t replace all your lights at once, start with the ones you use the most. CFLs can be found at any place that sells incandescent bulbs. LEDs are a bit harder to track down, but they can be found at Home Depot.
4) Have an energy audit done
In an energy audit or home energy assessment, a professional will examine the building and look for the areas that use or waste the most energy. They will look for things like leaks, old and inefficient appliances, aging insulation, and so forth. At the end, they will advise you on what changes need to be made to make the building more energy efficient. The local utility company may provide energy audits. The Residential Energy Service Network can also help find an energy auditor.
5) Take care of your water heater
Heating water accounts for about 18 percent of the average utility bill, and the water heater uses more electricity than any other appliance. Set the thermostat to 120 degrees to get comfortably hot water. Insulate the tank and the first six feet of pipe connected to the tank. Water heaters generally last about 10 or 15 years, but you should start looking for replacements if it’s seven years old or more. The newer models are simply more efficient.
6) Consider getting renewable energy
Local, state, and federal governments offer a variety financial incentives to people who buy solar panels. Some solar companies offer leases to people. With a solar lease, the company installs the solar panels on a client’s residence — but the company still owns them. The customer pays rent for the use of the panels. Some states have Ethical Electric, an energy company that buys electricity produced by solar and wind farms and then distributes it through utility companies.
7) Seal air leaks
A leaky building wastes energy, and a quick way to stop that waste and save money is to seal the leaks. Leaks are often found at doors, windows, attics, ducts, outlets, and plumbing fixtures. Seal any that you find.