Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Consumption at Home

It’s no secret that Americans need to cut their energy consumption. In fact, it’s clearly become a global issue. The United States used to far outpace the rest of the world in both energy requirements and the creation of greenhouse gases. Now that China and India have emerged as global superpowers, the United States isn’t alone in this imbalance. It seems like an impossibly massive issue, but in fact the difference starts with small changes you enact on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve already traded in your gas guzzler for a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. Maybe you’ve begun carpooling to work, or try to take public transportation whenever possible. But it’s your energy usage at home that most needs to change. Here are the top five ways to reduce your energy consumption at home.

First of all, switch out older appliances for new energy efficient units. Look for the Energy Star rating, which promises the same level of service and dependability as your previous appliances but with a fraction of the energy requirement. Look for front loading washing machines, which always use less natural resources than the top loaders. And always unplug appliances that don’t need to be powered constantly. If you’re not currently using that computer, television or microwave, unplug it from the wall. Even when they are switched off or ‘sleeping’ they still suck energy.

Next, think about your home’s cooling and heating services. A large part of the battle can be won by slightly changing how you use these utilities. If you plan on turning on your air conditioner this summer, get it going early in the morning. Waiting until the house is already hot will then require more energy to cool things off. The same goes in reverse during chilly winter days. All in all, try to avoid using your air conditioner except for those incredibly humid days when it would just be unbearable otherwise. If you live in a consistently warm climate, consider installing ceiling fans in the rooms you frequently use. They’re far less expensive than air conditioning, and don’t require freon to operate.

You should also insure that you are maximizing the energy output of your HVAC system. That means exploring anything in your home that is contributing to inefficiency. Head up into the attic, and consider having new eco-friendly insulation put in. The proper insulation will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, therefore trimming your energy needs and the utility bills that you have to pay each month. Also check the seals around the house, both in the ductwork and around all ceilings and doors. Cutting out leaks will insure you get the most from your system and don’t waste any energy.

You can also cut your energy consumption by saving water at home. Remember, heating and cooling the water you use to wash dishes, take showers and clean your clothes takes an awful lot of energy. Always use Energy Star appliances here as well, and look for ways to take advantage of grey water. You can have a tank installed that collects the runoff from your showers and washing machines. This can be easily cleaned and reused in your toilets or sent outside to water your garden. And make sure that all of your faucets and shower heads are efficient as well. That will save you a ton of water, but you won’t feel any difference in the pressure.

Finally, consider powering your home with alternative, reusable power sources. You can check them out online just by doing a quick search. Thousands of households are now using solar cells to fill some or all of their electric needs, and if you’re located in the right area you could take advantage of wind and hydroelectric power as well. Reach out to your State to request resources, as some areas may even provide you with tax breaks if you invest in green energy at home.

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