More and more people are looking for ways to increase their home’s energy efficiency—both to conserve energy for the good of our environment and to lower energy costs. The good news, environmentalists tell us, is that there are many ways to accomplish both goals without spending a great deal of money.
From a panel of national energy experts, here are proven ways to do your part:
- Unplug appliances. Coffee makers and other kitchen appliances, and even your cellphone charger, draw energy even when not in use. Make it a habit to unplug them after use.
- Caulk and weather strip. Properly caulked windows and doors help keep outdoor air from seeping into your home, increasing the overall efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems. Materials are inexpensive and replacement doesn’t take a lot of time, so check for drafts and replace as needed.
- Add insulation. Especially in older homes, adding insulation to the inside of your attic is well worth the minor investment in terms of efficiency and energy cost.
- Lower the water temp. A water heater set higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit wastes a lot of energy and creates a burn hazard for children. So while it might take a few extra minutes to get your kitchen faucet water really hot, it will be worth the savings to lower your thermostat.
- Replace incandescent lights. The average household spends 11 percent of its energy budget on lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert only about 10 percent of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. New lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50 – 75 percent.
- Maximize laundry and dish cleaning. Don’t run a load until the machine is full. Clean the dryer’s lint filter frequently and use lower temperature settings or lower cleaning settings when clothes or dishes are not heavily soiled.
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