Energy conservation is at its core. It means using less energy to reduce costs and improve the environment. This could mean using less electricity, gas, or any other energy you receive from your utility. It is important to conserve energy as much as possible, both for our own benefit and the greater energy system.
There are many ways to save money and energy at home. You can reduce your home’s energy consumption and help to lower carbon dioxide emissions. You can reduce your energy consumption in commercial buildings, but there are many things you can do at home every day.
Energy efficiency vs. conservation
Energy conservation is a way to reduce energy consumption for both environmental and cost-saving reasons. Energy efficiency, however, refers to the use of specific products that use less energy. Although these concepts are similar, they use different methods. Smart appliances and energy-saving lights are two examples of energy conservation. You can save money while also increasing your sustainability.
ENERGY STAR’s website states that approximately 60% of electricity generated in the United States is from burning coal or natural gas. This releases greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Your energy use will depend on several factors, including the age and size of your home, the number of people living in it, the insulation of your home, and the type of products you use.
Change your daily behaviors
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on energy-efficient products to reduce your home’s energy consumption and increase your energy savings. It is as easy as turning off appliances and lights when they are not needed. It is possible to use less energy-intensive appliances by doing household chores manually. For example, hang drying clothes rather than drying them or washing dishes by hand.
Your best behavior adjustment to save utility money is turning down your thermostat in winter and using your air conditioner less during summer. The average homeowner spends nearly half of their utility bills on heating and cooling. Therefore, these savings can be significant.
You can use tools called energy monitors to determine where your electricity is going and which appliances are using the most electricity each day.
Replace your light bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs that use excessive electricity must be replaced more frequently than energy-efficient ones. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), halogen incandescent bulbs (HFLs), as well as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), use 25-80 percent less electricity than traditional bulbs and last up to three to 25 times longer. ENERGY STAR (r), the government-backed symbol of energy efficiency, is displayed. If you see the ENERGY STAR logo, it means that you are getting a product/appliance that has been proven to reduce energy consumption. LEDs that have the ENERGY STAR label can use as much energy as an incandescent bulb but consume up to 90% less energy.
While energy-efficient bulbs can be more expensive on the market, they are less expensive in the long term due to their longer life spans and efficient energy usage.
Smart power strips are a smart option
“Phantom Energy,” also called “standby energy” and “vampire power”, is electricity that electronics use when they are turned off or put into standby mode. The main energy waste is standby energy. The U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), they account for 5-10% of residential energy consumption and cost households an average of $100 each year. Advanced power strips are also called smart power strips. They prevent phantom loads from happening by turning off power to electronics when not in use. Smart power strips can be programmed to shut off at a specific time, after a period of inactivity, or based on the status of a master device.
Install a smart or programmable thermostat
Smart thermostats can automatically reduce or turn off heating and cooling when you’re asleep or gone. Installing a smart thermostat can reduce your heating and cooling energy without having to replace your HVAC system.
ENERGY START estimates that a smart thermostat can save you around 8 percent on your heating and cooling costs, or approximately $50 each year. Your climate, personal comfort preferences, age, and type of HVAC equipment, as well as the number of people living in your home, could impact the savings. There are many models of smart thermostats that can be adjusted to your week’s schedule. You may also find indicators that tell you when your HVAC system needs to be replaced or how to improve the efficiency of your heating/cooling system.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
Two numbers should be considered when purchasing an appliance: the annual operating cost and the initial purchase price. While energy-efficient appliances may have higher upfront costs, they can save you money on your monthly utility bills.
You should search for appliances that have the ENERGY STAR label. This federal seal guarantees that your appliance will use less energy when in use than standard models. The appliance will have different energy savings. ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers consume approximately 20% less energy and 30% less water than other washers. ENERGY STAR fridges, however, use just 9 percent less energy. According to ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers can save up to 3,800 gallons of drinking water per year.
Reduce your water heating expenses
Your total energy consumption is directly affected by water heating. There are three ways to reduce your water heating costs: Use less hot water, lower the thermostat on the water heater, or insulate the water heater with the first six feet.
You should look at two things when replacing your water heater. The type of water heater you need and the fuel it will burn. Tankless water heaters, for example, are more energy-efficient than traditional models, but can’t handle simultaneous hot water uses. The most efficient way to heat your home’s hot water is with heat pump water heaters. Energy Star-certified heat pump water heaters can help save four people about $470 annually on their electric bills, which is more than a standard electric heater, saving over $4,500 over the life of the heater. Even more, savings can be made for larger families that use more hot water. Although heat pump water heaters are more expensive up front, homeowners who want to upgrade to heat pump water heaters can get tax credits or rebates through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Your HVAC system should be upgraded
An HVAC system is made up of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. Your annual energy bill can be cut by replacing old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR-certified equipment. You’ll need to make sure the HVAC equipment you choose, whether heat pumps or natural gas furnaces, is appropriate for your climate.
You can install heat pumps to heat or cool your home when it comes to HVAC systems. You will need to have two systems in order to accomplish both. For example, an air conditioner to cool the home, and a furnace/boiler to heat the house.
ENERGY STAR points out that ENERGY STAR-certified central air conditioners have a higher seasonal energy efficiency (SEER), and an energy efficiency ratio(EER), and consume 8 percent less energy per unit than newer models.
You can increase your energy efficiency by upgrading the ventilation component of your HVAC system. The ventilation system is made up of network ducts that distribute hot and cold air throughout your house. The energy lost from these ducts can cost you hundreds of dollars in annual cooling and heating costs. Your heating and cooling costs can be reduced by as much as 20% with proper insulation and maintenance of your ventilation system.
Installing heat pumps is the most efficient way to upgrade your HVAC system. A heat pump is a device that transfers heat from one area to cool or heat your home. Air source heat pumps are more efficient than other technologies in that they use less energy and can be used to both heat and cool your home. They can be used to upgrade your home’s energy system, which is both cost-effective and efficient.