Three Energy and Money Saving Tips You Can Use TODAY
We're running out of fuel on this planet. While the search for alternative energy sources is on, we need to remember that a kilowatt or BTU saved is just as good as a new one found. Conservation isn't as glamorous as a solar-powered house or a geothermal hesting system, but it has the potential to be far more beneficial to our world's energy future because it's something EVERYONE can do TODAY.
And the best thing is, it can be nearly painless. Most of use have energy wasting habits that we can change very easily and quickly, saving energy and allowing us to keep more money in our pockets.
1. Turn the heat down at night and when you're away from home. The biggest energy myth believed by people is that it uses more energy to heat a house back up then to leave it at the same temperature 24 hours a day. This is wrong. Turning the heat down when you're away from home saves energy in two ways: Heat loss is reduced because the temperature difference between your house and the outdoors is less, and the heating system will run in a longer stretch when the heat is turned back up, and longer running times are more efficient than short on/off cycles. The only exception is for electric heat pumps. If you have a heat pump, you need to buy a special heat pump setback thermostat with "smart" recovery in order to set your heat back when you're away and bring it back up when you get home. If you have a heat pump and simply turn the heat down when you leave and then up when you get home, you might activate the auxiliary heat, costing you more energy than you would have used to leave the temperature alone. Electric heat pumps are the ONLY heat source where this is an issue.
2. Buy five compact fluorescent light bulbs and put them in your five most-used lamps -- today. Incandescent light bulbs are ridiculously inefficient, and should only be used in closets (where the light is on very briefly) and in fixtures that absolutely can't accommodate compact fluorescents. (Consider changing those fixtures to fluorescent ones when possible.) By putting the compact fluorescents in your five most-used lamps, you maximize your energy savings and extend the life of the bulbs, since fluorescents last longest if not switched on and off frequently.
3. Turn your computer off when you're not using it. Computers account for a high percentage of the growth in electricity demand in North America. If your computer is a newer Energy Star model, it's okay to use the "sleep" or "low power" mode rather than turning it off, but otherwise turn it off. Studies have shown that it's a myth that it's better for the computer to leave it on all the time. In fact, computers left on all the time in a "high power" mode (such as with a screen saver on the screen rather than a dark powered down monitor) fail sooner than those turned off when not in use, and they're also more vulnerable to power surges.