SAVE ENERGY, SAVE MONEY
Life can be overwhelming with all the “shoulds” -- things we’re supposed to do like eating the right foods, flossing, creating a balanced “work-school-home-play” life,and doing something about major issues facing the world and our community. Sometimes it seems like too much. So why bother with one more thing? Because one thing-- energy efficiency -- creates three positive benefits at once for you and the planet: cuts your home utility bills so you have extra money to spend on other things,increases your comfort, reduces pollution.
And, it’s easy. When you choose energy-efficient technologies and products for your home, you can relax while they continue producing these benefits for you day afterday, year after year.
Energy used to heat your home and power your TV is not too different from the energy your body gets when you eat a bean burrito. Your body is like a powerhouse,turning food (fuel) into usable energy -- the ability to do work -- and eliminating waste byproducts.
A power plant does the same thing: Coal, oil, or natural gas (nonrenewable fossil fuels) goes in and gets burned up to power a big generator that sends energy to yourhouse, with carbon dioxide, some noxious gases, and/or sludge as byproducts.
The problem: Fossil fuels (from fossils, or remains, of dead animals and plants) take millions of years to make. The volume of byproducts created when we burn fossilfuels are not easily reprocessed in our environment and cause pollution and related health problems.
Energy production and use account for nearly 80 percent of air pollution, more than 88 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and more environmental damage than anyother human activity.
Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation
Energy efficiency is a far cry from old energy conservation images. It’s not turning down the thermostat and sacrificing comfort. Energy efficiency means getting themost from every energy unit by using state-of-the-art technologies to provide daily needs -- comfortable homes, profitable businesses, convenient transportation. It is thesingle most immediate, cost-effective way to reduce energy use and pollution.
If your house were energy efficient, you could lower your thermostat and be comfortable day and night, without drafts, cold spots, or guilt while doing your share foryour family, your finances, and your environment.
If you replaced just four 100-watt incandescent bulbs that burn four or more hours a day in your home with four 23-watt fluorescent bulbs, you’d get as much light andsave at least 452 kilowatt-hours of electricity and $82 over three years. If all our nation’s households did the same, we’d save as much energy as is consumed by someseven million cars in one year.
Join our “treasure hunt” to discover ways to save home energy and money. Gain Power$marts -- the knowledge and power to make energy-efficient choices. Thebrochure’s Power$marts Tips highlight efficient technologies and approaches, while its Energy Consciousness Tips provide the best energy-saving conservationbehaviors. Together, they produce maximum results.
IT STARTS AT HOME
Surprising fact: The average home produces twice as much greenhouse gas pollution as the average car! Due to emissions produced by power plants that generate theelectricity used to run modern homes -- plus home emissions from such things as oil or gas-fired furnaces -- an average house releases 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide(CO2) annually compared to a typical car’s 10,000 pounds of CO2, estimates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The United States currently emits 45,000 pounds of CO2 annually per person. Most scientists believe CO2 is contributing to global climate change. In 1995, householdsused one-fifth of the energy consumed in the United States. About three-fifths of the energy Americans use at home is from electricity. The remainder comes fromnatural gas and oil.
Unfortunately, we don’t even benefit from a lot of the energy we use. Energy dollars pour out of homes through drafty doors and windows and uninsulated attics, walls,floors, and basements. Even some idle (turned off) appliances use energy 24 hours a day!
Why Develop Power$marts?
Available technology can plug major energy leaks. The average household in the U.S. spends about $1,300 each year on home energy, according to DOE. What if youcould save up to a third or half of that using the tips in this booklet? You could go away for a fabulous long weekend, see 40 movies with a friend, save for college, orbuy the latest video games, attire, and those cool shoes.
Why Develop Energy Consciousness?
The energy use of two families living in two homes that are EXACTLY alike can vary by 100 percent -- which means that how you use what’s in your home can double(or halve) your energy bills.
Overall Power$marts Tip
Look for the Energy Star label, the symbol for energy efficiency, when buying home and office products. Qualifying energy efficiency levels are set by EPA and theU.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for heating and cooling equipment, windows, major appliances, computers and other office equipment, lighting fixtures, new homes,and some consumer electronics.
Households that replace existing equipment with Energy Star products can cut annual energy bills by 30 percent.
IS YOUR HOME LEAKING ENERGY DOLLARS?
Perhaps your home wasn’t built using today’s high-quality, energy-efficient products or techniques. Perhaps previous occupants never took take care of problems -- andyour heating and cooling bills are higher than you’d like. Where might energy be flowing from your home?
It might be going out the window -- literally. The average home has enough leaks around its windows and doors to equal one open three foot by three foot window!Check your home’s first line of defense against the elements -- the roof, walls, floors, windows, and doors. It pays to deal with air leaks first to get the maximum savingsfrom your heating and cooling systems and other energy-efficiency measures.
Appropriate insulation for your climate (based on R-ratings) can increase your comfort and reduce your heating and cooling costs up to 30 percent. Start with atticinsulation, followed by exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces.
If you’re shopping for new windows, glass doors, or skylights, look for the Energy Star label. Today’s high-efficiency windows are three to four times more energyefficient than windows commonly installed 10 years ago. Special low-e (emissivity) or spectrally-selective (solar control) coatings greatly reduce the amount of heat thatflows through glass so there isn’t as much heat lost in winter or gained in summer.
Energy Consciousness Tips
Find and plug those leaks. Just wet your fingertips and run them around the door or window frame to feel a draft -- or hold up a tissue and see if it waves. Seal leaksbetween moving parts (between door and its frame) with weatherstripping. Fill leaks between non-moving parts (between window frame and wall) with caulking.
Install storm windows or double-paned windows if you only have single-pane windows. If you have older or leaky windows that you can’t replace, consider temporaryfixes, such as plastic films kits that create the effect of an interior storm window, or low-e retrofit film.
It’s A Fact: Double-pane windows with low-e coating can reduce heating bills by 34 percent in cold climates compared to uncoated, single-pane windows. In hotclimates, spectrally selective low-e windows can cut cooling costs by 38 percent.
KEEPING YOUR C-O-O-O-L
our thermostat controls the heating and cooling system that consumes more than half of the energy in your home -- the biggest chunk of your family’s energy budget.How much of that energy is used to keep your house comfortable when no one is home or everyone is asleep? Probably a lot, if you don’t adjust the thermostat whenyou leave the house or go to bed.
Introducing the programmable thermostat! It automatically coordinates the temperature of your home with your daily and weekly (weekend) patterns -- so you don’thave to awaken to a chilly bedroom in winter or come home to a stuffy house in summer. Once you make the settings, you don’t have to adjust the thermostat again.
When adding a programmable thermostat or replacing a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump, look for the Energy Star label. You can get additional information fromthe yellow EnergyGuide label to compare every model in a category, its capacity, and estimated yearly energy cost.
Energy Star geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth to efficiently transfer heat to the home in winter or cool air to the home in summer. Theyrequire adequate land and up front expenditure.
Energy Consciousness Tips
When adjusting the thermostat by hand, remember that the house will not warm up or cool down any faster if you crank up the thermostat past the desired temperature.Besides, it is easy to forget to turn it back down, which will waste energy dollars.
If you have a heat pump, dramatically turning up the heat by hand is costly because it may trigger the inefficient backup heater, which is most often electric, eating upany savings from reducing the thermostat. (A programmable thermostat designed for heat pumps will gradually raise the heat without activating the backup heat.)
Clean or replace furnace and air conditioner filters once a month during heating/cooling season.
It’s A Fact
Rule of thumb for thermostat savings: For each degree you lower your thermostat in winter, you can save about 3 percent on your heating bill. An Energy Star furnacecould save $1,700 relative to an old furnace, or $1,000 over the lifetime of a standard new furnace.
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE
From 10 to 13 percent of the average home’s electricity costs can be controlled with the flip of a switch -- a light switch. You don’t want to live in the dark, so how canyou light the house more efficiently?
A good solution: Compact fluorescent bulbs have improved tremendously since first introduced. They have become smaller, cheaper, brighter, and offer improved colorquality.
Replace all light fixtures and bulbs that operate four or more hours a day with ones that use fluorescent bulbs to save money and energy. Use lumens -- the amount oflight produced -- to compare lights. For example, a 23-watt fluorescent bulb produces about the same number of lumens as a 100-watt incandescent. Your investmentwill generally pay for itself in a couple of years
It’s A Fact
If every household in the U.S. switched to Energy Star light fixtures, we could save 70 billion kilowatt-hours and prevent 100 billion pounds of CO2 per year -- equivalentto removing 10 million cars from the road!
Energy Consciousness Tips
Let “Mother Nature” light your home.Sunlight is brighter than a multitude of light bulbs, and it’s free.
Don’t like coming home to a dark house? Instead of leaving lights on, put timers on a few of the lights in your home, or install motion detectors on exterior flood lights toimprove your home security. After you get inside, the sensor will “remember” to turn the lights off.
Halogen torchiere lamps have grown in popularity. Although relatively inexpensive to purchase, they are expensive to operate and very inefficient. Thehalogen bulbs in these lamps operate at temperatures much hotter than regular bulbs and can CAUSE FIRES, warns the U.S. Consumer Product SafetyCommission (CPSC). Consider a safe Energy Star torchiere.
You need to eat, right? The kitchen uses a big chunk of your home energy budget. Your refrigerator alone -- which is on 24 hours a day -- accounts for about 15 percentof the total home electricity bill, or about 10 percent of the average home energy bill. So where can youapply energy efficiency in the kitchen?
Shopping for a major appliance before it breaks down gives you the best chance to find a higher efficiency model with the features you want. The typical refrigeratorsold in 1996 has more features yet uses about half the electricity of a comparable model sold in 1980.However, there still remains a wide range in efficiency between models. Choose appliances with the Energy Star label to ensure efficiency.
Energy Conscious Tips
Buy a new fridge that is the right size for your needs to avoid wasting energy cooling nothing.
Use a microwave or toaster oven to cook small portions and a conventional oven or stove-top for larger items.
A watched pot will eventually boil -- but putting a lid on it reduces cooking time and energy use. Also, match the pot size to burner size to avoid energy waste.
It’s A Fact
Refrigerators in the U.S. alone use the equivalent of the output of more than 20 large nuclear power plants. If all the nation’s households used the most efficientrefrigerators, electricity savings would eliminate the need for about 10 large power plants.
From tumblers to tutus, there’s no shortage of washing to do around the home, all of which takes energy. Just making hot water uses about 14 percent of your homeenergy budget.
Many new innovations save energy in the cleaning department. One of the simplest and least expensive is a low-flow shower head -- a familiar technology that hasimproved from earlier versions. It can cut your shower water use in half whilemaintaining the same pressure as before.
If you are in the market for new appliances, look for these efficient, energy-saving features:
Dishwashers that turn off the heating element and circulate air from outside the washer for drying.
Clothes dryers that have moisture sensors that turn off the unit when the clothes are dry.
Horizontal axis (front loading) washers that use less water and energy to get clothes as clean as conventional washers.
Energy Consciousness Tips
Set your hot water heater thermostat at 120 degrees (or “low”). It’s hot enough for most needs -- including dishwashers, which are generally made with booster heaters-- and it cuts down on energy needed to keep water hot in the tank.
Wrap your hot water tank in an insulating “blanket” if it feels warm to the touch.
Use warm or cold water for laundry when possible, rinse in cold, and wash when you have full loads. Today’s cold water detergents do a good job.
TOO "PLUGGED IN"
The economic boom in our consumer-oriented society, the growth of new technologies, and the changing workforce -- more people working from home -- havedramatically increased the number of products that require power in the average home. Some of today’s homes sport multiple computers, printers, faxes, TVs, VCRs,CD players, and hair dryers.
Computer equipment is the fastest growing electric load in the world. In fact, energy use by computers could double by the year 2000. Unfortunately, much of theenergy for computers iswasted because they are often kept on while not in use.
Furthermore, most idle appliances -- TVs, VCRs, cable boxes, CD players, cassette decks, cordless phones, burglar alarms, microwaves -- continue to consume energywhen switched off. Thisenergy keeps display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory calculates that these energy “leaks” accountfor 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption, cost more than $3 billion annually, and spew 18 million tons of carbon into theatmosphere.
Idle TVs and VCRs alone cost U.S. consumers more than $1 billion a year, or some $30 per household. Emissions from power plants supplying that electricity are equalto the pollution causedby 2 million cars! New technology in TVs and VCRs bearing the Energy Star label will reduce wasted energy by up to 75 percent.
Activate your Energy Star “sleep” feature on home office equipment (PC, fax, printer, scanner) -- so that it automatically powers down when not in use to save up to$70 annually in electricity bills and improve product longevity.
Energy Consciousness Tip
Turning off your computer during long periods of non-use cuts costs and improves longevity.
It’s A Fact
Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you avoid using saves more than 11-1/2 pounds of CO2 from being pumped into the atmosphere. If over the next 15 years,Americans bought only EnergyStar products, we would shrink our energy bills by more than $100 billion and eliminate as much greenhouse gas pollution as is produced by 17 million cars for each ofthose 15 years!
Written by: Alliance To Save Eneregy
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