Save Money Through Home Energy Conservation

By Alison Rogers
December/January 2006
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Even the most energy illiterate of us know that turning up the thermostat a few degrees in the summer can make a difference, but did you know that there are approximately 30 additional ways to save on air-conditioning costs? Try combining a ceiling fan with the AC; increasing air flow will create an indoor wind-chill effect. Close shades during the day or landscape accordingly near windows that receive sun in the afternoon. Keep the thermostat out of direct sunlight and away from heat-generating appliances. Close vents in unused rooms. The list goes on and on.

You can get a detailed plan for your home in The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy Smart. Author Paul Scheckel, a Vermont energy auditor, has visited thousands of homes over the past 12 years, educating owners about energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

This MOTHER EARTH NEWS 'Book for Wiser Living' provides readers with detailed directions on how to reduce the amount of energy they consume. It includes lessons on how common household systems (hot water heaters, heating/air conditioning systems and household appliances) use energy, but more importantly, how they lose energy through inefficiency, and what you can do to minimize such losses.

The book spells out a 'diet' for each system. For instance, the 'electrical diet' lists 16 tips, including:

?Call your power company and ask if they provide an energy audit service. Older homes can often reduce energy bills by 50% or more by implementing energy audit recommendations.
?Use only compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). For every 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) used by a conventional, incandescent light bulb, a CFL bulb will use only 333 kWh, reducing your lighting costs by one-third.
?Know what is on, when and why.
?Eliminate your phantom loads (phantom loads are energy 'leaks' from appliances, like those with a digital clock display, that draw small amounts of power even when not in use) by using power strips with on/off switches. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that phantom loads add up to nearly 10 percent of U.S. household electricity use, or approximately $4 billion per year.

Check out the hot water diet, refrigerator and freezer diet, heating diet, and more. Find ways to reduce energy waste and maximize your home's energy efficiency. Your savings account ? not to mention our planet ? will benefit.

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