New Year’s Resolution #11 – Conserve Energy

Like water, energy is something it’s easy to take for granted. We all get to turn on the TV or air conditioner without   having to give a thought to the resources investing in bringing electricity to our outlets. But electricity production is one of the biggest sources of environmental damage: it requires 500 billion liters of water a day and accounts for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s why reducing the amount of energy you use in your home is one of the most important things you can do to go green. Fortunately, there are lots of easy changes in you can make in 2012 to follow Greenhome’s eleventh New Year’s resolution to conserve energy.

The main use for energy in most households is heating and cooling – together they account for around half of all home energy consumption – which is why the quickest way to have a real impact on your home energy use is to take control of your thermostat. When you’re home, keep it set above 75° in the summer and below 70° in the winter. When you’re asleep or out of the house, you can dial it back even further. The easiest way to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible is to get a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature in your home, even if you forget. Also be sure to close off vents in unused rooms and to insulate your home well. Install double-paned windows, seal cracks around windows and doors to make sure you’re not wasting energy, and put down rugs to warm your feet in the winter.

Heating water and refrigeration also use a large percentage of household energy. To reduce their impact on your home, be conservative with the temperature. Keep water heaters set at or below 120°and adjust your refrigerator to the lowest setting. Also avoid putting hot food directly into the fridge and wash your clothes in cold water. And if you’re buying new appliances, look for the EPA Energy Star label. These appliances will be guaranteed to meet EPA standards for high energy efficiency while still maintaining the standards of regular appliances.

Another great way to conserve energy is to be efficient with your lighting. Replace old bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs – they’re brighter while only using a quarter of the energy – and use timers or motion sensors on outdoor lights so they’re only on when you need them. And, of course, you should always turn off the lights whenever you leave the room. Also be sure to turn off other appliances like computers, TVs, and printers when they’re not being used.

In addition to cutting down on your energy use, you can also help the environment by switching to green energy. Look in your area for power companies that specialize in energy from solar, wind, or geothermal sources. If you’re interested in learning more about where your electricity comes from, check out the EPA’s power profiler, which will show you the breakdown of energy sources in your area. The more you know, the greener you can be!

Goals for 2012

• Be conservative when you heat or cool your home and install a programmable thermostat to help use energy efficiently.

• Use space heaters and blankets instead of turning up the heat.

• Insulate your home: seal around windows and doors, use curtains and rugs to keep out the cold, and install doubled-paned windows.

• Replace conventional light bulbs with LEDs.

• Keep water heaters and refrigerators at the lowest possible setting.

• Wash clothes and dishes on cold water cycles.

• Switch to green energy sources.

• Our home energy conservation kit is a great way to start conserving energy. It included compact fluorescent light bulbs, motion sensors and timers, a programmable thermostat, and tools for monitoring energy use.

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