Earth Day Inspiration: Live Better Electrically
Using less electricity is a great way to go greener, and there’s no better time to get started, since Earth Day is April 22. You may be surprised at how many minor projects can pay big dividends, helping to protect our environment while possibly saving you money and enhancing your health.
Here are some top green electricity tips from a Treehugger.com article:
- Audit yourself. A home energy audit will inventory your home’s energy use, where energy is lost and where it can be saved. You can do an energy audit yourself, hire a pro or ask if your utility does them for free.
- Reduce your use. The lowest hanging fruit just begging to be picked are simple energy-saving practices — which are also the most cost-effective. Top tasks include:
Replace your light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs). Take a pass on compact fluorescents.
Turn off lights and other devices when they’re not needed.
Eliminate electronics that sleep on a standby setting, which continue to pull a current even when “turned off.”
Remove the clunky AC adaptors on many power cables that pull current, when not in use — also known as phantom power. Your best bet is a “smart” power strip, or one that can be turned off at night.
- Put your house on a diet. Homes consume an enormous amount of energy, especially in heating and cooling. Keep yours cool with natural ventilation instead of air conditioning as much as possible. Use in-room, ceiling or whole-house fans to move air throughout the house. Block sunlight during hot hours of the day. Wrap your water tank in an insulating blanket.
- Buy wise. After cooling and heating, appliances and other plug-in devices are the biggest users of energy in your home. When looking for new appliances, seek out the most energy-efficient models. Most new appliances come with an EnergyGuide label that shows its consumption in terms of kWh per year. Also look for Energy Star-rated products.
- Make homemade juice. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making your own electricity from the sun, wind or water. Installing a home alternative energy system is becoming more and more cost-effective as technology improves and assistance programs spread. Photovoltaic or solar electric systems are the most common. Depending on a number of variables, a solar electric system can provide all the energy needed for a typical home.
- Charge your toys. For all the portable electronic devices in your life, consider feeding them green power with a solar charger. Your laptop, cell phone, camera and more can be charged with portable solar, and you’ll never find yourself searching for a plug.
- If you build it…you will save. A home or building designed and constructed around energy-efficiency can realize enormous savings. Everything from the house size, positioning of the house, use of daylight and natural ventilation, lighting and appliances, and renewable energy system can push a building closer and closer to net zero energy consumption. If you’re building a home, doing serious renovations, or making an addition, make sure energy-efficiency is a key design criterion.
Feeling inspired? Authentic Designs & Remodeling has the expertise and experience to help with many of your electricity-saving projects. Contact us to learn more about green building.