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admin 01.09.2013

When it comes to green living, reducing the amount of energy you use is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do. While electricity itself is not unfriendly to the environment, the production of it is as most of the facilities we use to generate electricity are powered by fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are not renewable and the output from these facilities produces carbon which leads to global warming. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce your energy consumption and the bonus is that you’ll also save money on your utility bill!
Many electronic devices today have LED’s that draw energy even if the device is not powered on. Those little bits can quickly add up, so when your appliances are not in use, try to get into the habit of unplugging them.
While it’s nice to have your computer always ready for use, it also uses a lot of electricity. Getting an automatic thermostat can be a great way to reduce your heating costs, be it from oil, gas or electricity. Set it to 68 degrees Fahrenheit for daytime use when people will be home and 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you are sleeping or at work. Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and get an insulated sleeve for it to insure it is working as efficiently as possible. Switch to more energy efficient lighting like LED lights or compact fluorescent lights and be sure that you don’t leave lights on overnight or when no one is in the room. Your refrigerator should be set to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit for most efficient use. Make sure there is a full load in the dishwasher before you run it and use the energy saving cycle. Using energy efficient appliances can help reduce energy usage as well as your electric bill so the next time you are in the market for a new appliance, make sure you look at the energy star rating and buy the most efficient model you can afford. Usually when I receive emails from my electric utility, Georgia Power, promising to offer energy saving tips I ignore them because they are just too basic. High temperatures can impact your monthly electric bill because your air conditioning system must work harder to keep your home comfortable. The problem I've had with most energy tip websites that show breakdowns of how homes use energy is that they aren't specific to each region and climate zones. My concern with the above chart is that I was convinced I spent more money cooling my home in the summer than I did heating it in the winter.
My biggest complaint with the questionnaire is that it doesn't spend enough time on thermostat setting. Please select a temperature that is the effective average temperature in your home during a 24-hour period. But for people with programmable thermostats, most know what they set the thermostat at for different times during the day (home, away, sleep) so why not allow users to fill in the times and settings if they know them? While I'm missing August in the real world comparison, if you compare the image above to the one at the top of the post (which was taken from the report), you can see that they are very close to each other!

If you live in a hot climate where your air conditioning system makes up the bulk of your home's energy load, you may want to dig a little deeper and check out our post on Air Conditioner Power Consumption.
Thanks Ryan.  It looks like the RESFEN program is free.  How easy is it to use if a homeowner wanted to use it prior to contacting a window installer?
Bob, but that's only if you have a smart meter right?  Does it break it down by end use application?
Did you know that chargers, whether for your laptop, tablet, or phone, continue to use energy even when they aren’t charging their intended devices?
Laptop computers are made to conserve energy, with many laptop screens using energy-efficient LED lights and solid-state hard drives that don’t have any moving parts. It’s a pain to go through and unplug these devices every time you are done using them. Did you know that reducing the temperature on your thermostat by just one degree can reduce your overall energy consumption by more than 5 percent? To give consumers an idea of how much it costs per TV, there are yellow stickers included with each model that shows the estimated cost of running the TV for a year (this assumes things such as a base price for electricity and running the TV for five hours a day on average). Rather than just looking for ways to save, you can also use advanced technology to create energy through the use of solar panels. These are just some things you should consider if you want to save money and avoid wasting energy.
The good news is that the G-Buss global business directory works with virtually any good or service.
Your VCR, Coffee Maker and even your electric toothbrush all use a little bit of energy when plugged in.
With a programmable thermostat you can set it to the optimum temperatures and then forget about it.
Make sure you always clean the lint basket after each load and be sure to set the appropriate water level in your washer.
To help manage this potential impact, I invite you to use our free online tool to find personalized ways to save.
When we covered Household Energy Usewe showed a breakdown of how a typical single family home uses energy, but not every home is going to be typical. The tool is a home energy calculator produced by Apogee, who provides software solutions to utilities. What I like most about the report that was generated is that it relies heavily on charts and graphs, which really help users visualize where their money is going. For example, if you keep your thermostat at 70 degrees during the day and at 64 degrees for 8 hours each night, your effective average temperature would be 68 degrees. I think that would provide a more accurate approach to understanding the largest energy consumer in the home. Once I update the graph with the August bills, I expect them to be much lower than July because August was not nearly as hot.
RESFEN software is pretty easy to use once you get familiar with the set up of the program.

The US Department of Energy supports a computer simulation called RESFEN, which currently provides the most accurate estimates available for home improvement energy savings.
There are a ton of tips and tricks that can increase your home’s energy efficiency, and many of them really require investing just the bare minimum effort.
This will vary from charger to charger, and if you’re concerned, you can get a watt meter to test how much energy is being consumed when the charger is plugged in. According to the University of Pennsylvania, watts used by desktop computers can range from about 50 to 150 while laptops ranged from 20 to 60 watts.
One tester found that the Xbox 360 draws 2.4 watts while plugged in and turned off, and it uses 109 watts when plugged in and turned on (but while not in use).
During the day, keep warm with fleece jackets that are soft and light, so you can be comfortable with a cooler home.
By adding solar panels to your roof, some of that energy will be replaced by a free resource — the sun. You’ll also find out where you use the most electricity in your home and why your bill changes from month to month.
I started by telling the tool which region in Georgia I lived in, and then spent about 5 minutes filling out questionnaire which asked things like the the type of home I lived in (middle town-home), how many square feet, how many people were there and away during the day, what my thermostat is set to during the summer and winter (more on this below), what type of windows, how many lights have I changed to fluorescent (percentage based), how I cool (electric air conditioner) and heat (natural gas furnace), etc.
Overall, it's fairly straightforward, but if a homeowner does get stuck or have any issues on where to input certain data, the Knowledge Base link on the RESFEN website is extremely helpful. Many replacement window companies would be more than happy to run a RESFEN report on your home.
With power strips, you can plug all of your devices in and when you’re done, just turn off the strip to reduce energy consumption.
In winter, try to keep the thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees while you’re home and awake and between 65 and 68 at night.
Currently, solar panels cost about 75 cents per watt, but according to an article published in the MIT Technology Review, that could go down to as little as 10 cents per watt, allowing it to cost much less than energy from fossil fuels. In order to break down use by appliance each appliance would need to be metered individually.
This program even gives homeowners the opportunity to compare projected energy savings from two different product lines against one another, which provides insight into which particular home improvement projects would yield the greatest amount of energy savings. Is it secure to store …3 Types of Passwords That Are Way Too Easy to GuessMay 11, 2016Put in the wrong hands, your employees' login credentials can be the key to a massive security leak. It was much easier than the original questionnaire that the now defunct Microsoft Hohmtried to get me to fill out but I gave up after 20 minutes.

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