Learn the basics of How to Live Green
For most energy in the form of natural gas and electricity is used to heat, cool, and light our homes, workplaces, and utility spaces. It is more than critical and we sometimes take for granted the luxury and importance energy provides until the power goes out or our gas bill goes up. Most also do not give much thought to where our power comes from. It comes from burning fossil fuels in most cases, however clean green energy is growing daily. Hint: Today you can elect to use only green power at your home or business for a slightly higher cost which varies depending on your provider. It can be a huge help in increasing the amount of green power the power provider generates (supply and demand).
Use Less Electricity
In the early days when electricity was first introduced they had to really sell it to homeowners. Now we are dependent on it in many ways and it has improved our quality of life to have electric power. However overall the less we use the better for the earth unless it is completely clean and renewable power which is sadly not the case more often than not. If we use less the local power plant needs to produce less. This also then lowers the amount of fuel they have to burn which is most times dirty coal, or nuclear in some cases which as we have seen can be quite dangerous. The less they have to burn the lower the CO2 output (which is one the gases responsible for global warming).
Tips on How-To Reduce
- Lighting - a major source of energy usage goes toward lighting. If you replace as many bulbs as possible with LED or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL's) you will save between 20-30.00 annually per bulb. That adds up quick! Yes these bulbs will cost a bit more initially but costs are coming down and there are usually good rebate programs available from your power company. These bulbs consume a fraction of what conventional light bulbs use. You can purchase them at the grocery store or your local home improvement store. Buy multi-paks and make sure to pay attention to the different light types you can find in CFL's, as there are many to choose from some that mimic incandescent light.
- Solar Gain - passive heating can help save a lot on your heating bill. The sun provides free heat to those whose homes are orientated properly to take advantage of south sunlight. Adding thermal mass such as stone or 50-gallon drums of water is also a method commonly used to store the heat so it can radiate over time back into the room. In the summer of course block off the mass so that the space stays cool. This also incidentally works in reverse where the mass will store cool energy and radiate that back on hot days.
- Cooling - air conditioner in a home is probably the largest single expense in an electric bill. If you live in a climate where it is mandatory to have A/C. Set the thermostat to a reasonable level of comfort during the day and use an electronic thermostat to reduce or turn off your unit at night. Use passive cooling or even geo-thermal units are available taking cool air from tubes drilled down into the earth.
- Insulation - proper insulation and windows are key to your homes energy efficiency. See our article on Winterizing your home do your best to make sure your well-insulated, caulk up windows, and put weather stripping on your doors.
- Appliances - turn off that computer when you're not using it! A computer tower running 24/7 costs about 10 dollars monthly. Turning it off, or putting it on power save mode will save you a couple bucks a monthly and reduce that power usage.
- Sneaky Electricity Users - many appliances are on nowaday when your not using them keep an eye on this and unplug those that have clocks you do not need and or standby modes.
- Water-heater - also a huge part of energy consumption. Add a solar hot water heater, it is easier than you think. Also during hotter months, turn down the temperature, and when the cooler season returns turn it back up.
- Refrigerator - keep the fridge and freezer doors open for as little as possible, a lot of energy goes into cooling these things.
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