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Whether you own or rent your home, you are probably concerned about your energy use and costs. When it comes to heating and cooling, HVAC equipment with Energy Star ratings are the best energy savers.
Let’s face it, we all have good intentions to save energy in our homes but never end up following through with the plan. Putting aside a small amount of time each month to enforce and then regulate changes to features and appliances in your home could make a huge difference to the amount of energy you save as well as taking pleasing chunks off your monthly bills. It may sound like a reasonable expectation to wash everything at 30C, especially considering that 90% of your washing machine’s energy is used on heating water, but in reality those hot 60C washes for towels and bedding are going to be necessary at times.
The trick is to just limit those hot washes and balance this with cold rinses for those items in less need of a thorough wash. That burning sensation when you brush your cheek against clothes fresh out of the dryer can only mean two things – they do the job the name suggests and they use an incredible amount of energy in doing so.
From one of the warmest energy consumers to the coldest, freezers are by no means as high in their energy consumption as dryers but they must be properly maintained in order to run as efficiently as possible.
Firstly, defrosting your freezer regularly will save energy and is also a quick and easy process if the outer frame of ice is kept less than four inches thick.
Saving water is one key way of saving energy in the home and the prime candidates for this are taps and showers.
Both warm and cool air escape without proper insulation and force your home’s heating and cooling equipment to work harder than necessary. Insulated roofs also protect against exposure to ice, preventing freezing pipes and subsequent roof and ceiling leaks.
It’s an increasing common sight seeing solar panels appearing on roofs of offices and homes around the country. Traditional solar panels heat your home’s water during the day for use in the evening and the more technical sounding photovoltaic panels generate electricity during the day for later use. There’s one source of light during the day that’s possibly the best energy saving method out there – natural daylight.
Energy saving light bulbs may sometimes take a while to reach full brightness but they do also use five times less energy for the same amount of light as a regular light bulb and this can only be good news for your energy bills. Windows are an easy target for escaping heat and one fifth of hot air from your home is lost through those panes embedded in the wall. There is no hassle with the installation of double-glazing either and consequently saving energy from the warmth of your own home couldn’t be easier. The bigger the monitor the bigger the energy consumption – it may be an idea to downsize an unnecessary huge monitor in your home for the sake of saving energy.
No exception to the standby rule as with computers and laptops, TVs left on standby in your home can still use a great deal of energy and this is easily prevented by being switched off at the mains, and often unplugged, as with all other electrical appliances when not in use. Electric companies are constantly seeking new ways to help you save energy in your home by developing new models and re-mastering old designs to produce streams of TVs, each more energy efficient than the last so keep a look out. In autumn and spring, mild temperatures make it easy to forget about your home’s energy efficiency.
Homeowners have ways of beating the utility companies by taking steps to make their homes more energy efficient.
As if that weren’t enough, some countries offer extra financial incentives to their citizens for making their homes energy efficient. So how do you determine if your envelope needs sealing, and, if it does, what’s the best way to do it? In the basement or crawlspace, inspect the area where the foundation of the house meets the bottom of the walls above. You might think that those drafts you feel near your doors and windows are the biggest threats to your heating and cooling bill.
So how do you fix all of the problems you’ve uncovered through your energy assessment?
The gaps around those pipes that lead outside can also be filled with foam, but be sure to first figure out what kind of pipes you’re dealing with. You’ll also want to spray foam and insulate around any vents or ductwork in the attic roof. The 19-megawatt solar array being installed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will be the base’s second industrial-scale array and the largest photovoltaic system in the DoD.
All branches of the military are doing what they can to conserve energy to save money and natural resources. While cool things like that are happening around the services, you can find ways to save at home, too. According to the Department of Energy, home heating and cooling accounts for 48 percent of total energy consumption in American homes. Seal drafts in your home by adding weather stripping to doors or by using caulk around windows, which can account for 10-25 percent of your heating bill.
If you have the money, though, you might want to consider replacing your old windows with thermopanes, which can increase energy efficiency by up to 70 percent. Also, close off rooms you don’t use regularly and shut their vents to contain the heat to a smaller space. You can save up to 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10-15 percent for eight hours.

Insulate the water heater storage tank (NOT thermostat) by following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Drain a quart of water from your tank every three months to remove sediment that can impede heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of the heater.
If possible, buy an energy-efficient water heater model, as well as dishwashers and clothes washers, for more long-term savings.
By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the Energy Star, you can save $75 each year. Yes, I know those bulbs cost more, but they’re cheaper in the long run because of how little electricity they use. Use timers and dimmers to save electricity, and of course, turn lights off when you’re not in the room. If you want to get even more savings, try LED lights, which use even less energy than CFLs. The DoE said turning off computers, printers and small appliances and unplugging chargers and plug strips when they’re not in use actually does conserve power.
Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of this website or the information, products or services contained therein. This entry was posted in DoD News, Education, Military Families, Military Money, Rotator and tagged conservation, Energy Awareness Month, energy efficiency, energy savings, home energy audit, home savings. Saving energy is one of those things that only requires a small amount of change on your part and can often help you save money in the process.
Smart choices in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) can have big effects on your energy bill and comfort level. We’re not purposely ignoring the opportunity to do our bit for the environment, we simply forget to do so when it becomes muddled amongst a host of daily tasks and consequently slips down the list of priorities. Remember as well to only wash once you have a full load, unless, of course, like most modern washing machines, yours has a half-load setting. Construct the surroundings of your dryer so it vents all hot air to the outside and, secondly, if it’s a nice day with a hint of sun and a light breeze, stop that clothes line becoming a sole garden feature and hang your clothes outside to dry. A pressure regulator fitted on any of your tap faucets will prevent dripping after use and ensure no more water than necessary is being used.
Water-efficient shower heads reduce the amount of water being used without changing the pressure of your shower. However, thanks to current building techniques, it’s highly likely that your home is properly insulated as this is a common way to save energy. A quarter of all heat in your home is lost through the roof so the fully recommended depth of 270mm (10 inches) of insulation in your loft will definitely save as much energy as it does money on your heating bills. Using rays from the sun as an energy source means that, as long as the sun shines bright, we’ll have energy to use and save. You may also be eligible to have solar panels installed for free so be sure to check before making a final decision. However, when gloomy days and dark evenings arrive, your home needs its dose of artificial light so we need to address this while still saving energy.
A variety of shapes, sizes and fittings are also available so no energy saving light bulb will look out of place in your home. That is where double-glazing comes in – two panels of glass keeping the heat inside and your energy bills down.
Remember though, ensure all windows are shut when the heat is on, accommodating for the sharp temperature drop as afternoon becomes evening. The majority of computers and laptops will have built-in fans to keep themselves cool but there is still more you can do with them to save energy in the home.
Also decreasing monitor brightness is a small change that could make a big impact on saving energy and, an exception to the rule, to ensure your computer is on standby or sleep mode if you’re leaving the room for more than 15 minutes. The best example of this is the LED Backlit LCD TV which alters its display brightness depending on the room lighting, just another way you can save energy in your home.
But when your air conditioner or furnace kicks in during summer and winter, the energy wasted heating and cooling your home becomes painfully obvious. In the United States, residents can get up to a $500 tax credit on efficient doors, $200 on windows and as much as $2,000 on a solar water heater [source: USA Today].
The United States Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s joint Energy Star effort suggests you start by doing a simple inspection of your home. Look for gaps, and, like in the attic, look for spaces between the foundation and walls where pipes and ducts leave the basement. With just a few items from a home improvement or local hardware store, you can seal your home’s envelope.
Twelve-ounce cans of this sealant are usually available for around $5, and can be found at any home improvement store. If your basement is unfinished, work will go a lot faster, since you have easy access to all of the gaps in the exterior.
With this as a start, you can move onto other, more in-depth projects like changing out your doors and windows with energy-saving replacements. There’s no better time than now to remind you of how much you can save if you keep an eye on what you consume. Air Force Senior Airman Collin Uvanni caulks the baseboards of the new post office at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, June 6, 2006.

If you determine you need more insulation, make sure you pick the right type and level, or R-value, for your area.
There’s also the option of using removable rope caulk or shrink-to-fit plastic sheeting kits, both of which are cost-efficient and pretty effective.
For example, you may set it several degrees lower while you’re at work, a few degrees higher when you get home, then back down when you go to bed. Heat pump, natural gas on-demand, solar and tankless water heaters have been known to be very cost-efficient.
Improving on it can be one of your easiest fixes, so start by trading out your old incandescent bulbs for more efficient linear fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sites, the Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. It can reduce your monthly utility bill, improve your comfort, and protect the environment. None of these are effective, however, unless you properly seal and insulate your home’s ductwork. Make your home energy efficient and you can lessen the environmental impact, improve your comfort, and save money in the process. Even if this means filling containers with water and storing them in freezer until the space is required then it all helps and saves energy. Alternatively, many people are also looking into flow meters to keep track of how much water their household is actually using.
Remember as well to act quickly to fix any drips and leaks, especially with pipes which can cause huge problems if left unattended for too long. It can hit your bottom line hard, especially due to the price spikes in electricity and gas during the most extreme months.
It turns out that the improvement that produces the most significant result is also the cheapest.
This envelope consists of all the ceilings, floors, outer walls, windows and doors in your house.
Since most of the temperature exchange in a home takes place in the attic and basement, these are good places to begin. Also pay attention to the rim joists — the wood or concrete columns that support the floor above. Even better, with a little hustle, you could conceivably finish this energy-saving project over a weekend.
If you choose to replace your old insulation, insulate the attic side of the door or hatch as well. As in the attic, fill any large holes you find in the basement with expanding foam, and use caulk for smaller holes.
Also, according to the DOE, installing a drain water waste heat recovery system can provide energy savings of 25-30 percent. They also use about 75 percent less energy, produce 75 percent less heat and last 6-12 times longer, the DoE said.
Insulation keeps your cooled or heated air from escaping through holes, leaks, and poor duct connections. For example, wash full loads of laundry or dishes, and heat your small meals in a microwave oven. Simply by sealing this envelope, you can decrease your heating and cooling costs by an average of 20 percent [source: Energy Star]. Look for dirty spots, as well as frost-covered spots (if it’s winter) or wet spots (during summer). Apply foam around any exposed window sills, as well as around any duct work and pipes leading out of the basement.
This may also provide extra incentive to eventually finish your basement, and will give you a good first step toward completing the project later on. And the European Union is in talks for reducing taxes associated with energy-efficient fixtures.
At night when you are snuggled under blankets you can easily turn down the heat a few degrees and never notice, and when you aren’t at home, you can turn it down even more. Whether you have an electric or natural gas heater, using less hot water will use less energy. If you can tolerate your water being a little less hot, you can save energy.Use Window Coverings for Temperature ControlGot a south or east facing window that the sunlight streams through every morning in the summer? In winter, leave the curtains open so the morning sun can help warm up your home to allow you to keep the thermostat turned down.There are so many things you can do to save energy at home. These five tips are easy to implement and don’t require you to make major changes to your home. If you are interested in taking it a step further you can make your own hand soap or make your own laundry detergent right at home. I have a passion for real food, organics, GMO labeling, Young Living essential oils & green living.

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