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
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.