Home Solutions Gone Green

The green movement is here. At a time when homeowners everywhere are trying to find ways to conserve energy and save money, a little knowledge can go a long way. The following tips can reduce your carbon footprint and your electricity bills.

Refrigeration – Refrigerators are a huge energy consumer in the home. Some energy saving tips to remember:

• Refrigerators with the freezer on top use 10-15 percent less energy than side by side models.
• If your refrigerator is in the sunlight or next to your stove or dishwasher, it has to work harder to maintain cool temperatures.

An energy efficient refrigerator can save your family over $100 per year on the utility bill and if you combine an efficient new refrigerator with these tips you can save even more.

Washers and Dryers – Clothing washers and dryers can take a toll on your household utility bill. To save yourself some money, upgrade to an energy efficient mode and use these tips:

• Try not to overload your washer, but certainly don’t under load it either. If you can start doing all of your laundry in three loads instead of four you will reap the rewards on your energy bill.
• Use cold water whenever possible and always use the energy-saving features.

An energy efficient washer can save your family up to $135 per year when combined with these tips.

Home electronics – This category often goes overlooked as a source of energy consumption by many homeowners. Many think that by switching some of their household products to “off,” like a light switch, the item is no longer using energy. This is a common misconception. Devices like a Playstation or Blu-Ray player can still use power when the device is turned off.

To help reduce the energy use of your home electronics, use a power strip so you can turn them all completely off from one central location.

• Use the power management features on your computers and your televisions.
Upgrading your TV to an ENERGY STAR qualified television and following these simple steps can help you conserve over 40 percent less energy.

Water Heating – Water heating is one of the largest energy consumers in the home because it is necessary for numerous household activities. If you are in the market for a new water heater, you may be able to substantially reduce your energy consumption through water conservation.
• If your electric water heater was installed before 2004, install an insulating jacket to save 25-40 percent of standby heat loss.
• Lower the water heater temperature. For every 12 degrees you lower your water heater you can save an average of 3-5 percent on water heating costs.

Dishwashing – Models that use less water also use less energy because 60 percent of the energy used by a dishwasher goes towards heating the water.

• Choose a dishwasher with a “light wash” or “energy-saving” wash cycle. It uses less water and operates for a shorter period of time.
• Look for dishwashers that have an energy-saving cycle that allow dishes to be air-dried with circulation fans, rather than heat-dried with energy-wasting heating coils.

Window Coverings – Energy efficient window treatments are one easy way to conserve energy and reduce your utility bills. To be effective, window treatments must trap air between the shade or blind and the window glass. Window treatments are often overlooked during energy conservation conversations because they rarely consume any energy at all (motorized coverings being the exception). The correct combination of window coverings can drastically reduce the amount of heat lost during the cold winter months and can keep your home cooler during the hot summer months. With so many different options to choose from in terms of types of coverings, you can have your window coverings just the way you like. Pleated window blinds and cellular shades are just two of the many options in types of coverings, but you can also choose material, color, texture, and style. Some factors that contribute to energy gained and lost through window treatments:

Source: Budget Blinds