In recent years, everyone everywhere seems to be talking about saving energy.Every other day, we see articles appearing in newspapers and magazines discussing energy conservation, global warming, carbon dioxide emissions, greening your home and business, and related issues.The audiovisual media, television and radio shows, and the internet are increasingly carrying information on these subjects.Municipalities and corporations are initiating energy savings and greening programs.Social and political circles worldwide are abuzz with energy issues at the local, regional, state, federal, and international levels.Whole economies are being affected as global oil prices shoot to $100 per barrel and beyond.Renewable energy – solar, wind, hydro, and others – has marked a comeback after these forms of energy made a retreat in the mid-1980s.Much work is underway on fuel cells and on creating an infrastructure for the hydrogen-based economy of the future to replace the oil-based economy of the 20th century.Obviously, Energy is now at the forefront of the myriad of issues confronting us in today’s world.Mankind has seriously begun to look at a range of solutions to address the Energy problem.
The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings states that every time you buy a home appliance, tune up your heating system, or replace a burned-out light bulb, you are making a decision that affects the environment.Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you avoid using saves over two pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be pumped into the atmosphere.Carbon dioxide is the number one contributor to global warming.Other harmful gases are sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone that be seen and smelled in every major urban area of the country.
Worldwide, we pump some 26 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year – more than four tons for every man, woman, and child on the earth.The United States is responsible for one-quarter of that, or close to 6 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.On a per-capita basis, that comes to 21 tons per each American or about 5 times the world per-capita average.The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings estimates that by implementing a few easy energy saving measures in the home, that home can save about 35 tons of CO2 emissions per year, or about 9 tons per year for a household of four persons.This in itself results in a savings of about 40 per cent of CO2 emissions.
If each individual does his or her share in saving energy and reducing the associated carbon dioxide emissions, the collective actions of many will have a dramatic positive effect on our planet.Besides this, each individual will have a direct personal gain by reducing their own energy bills and channeling the monetary savings to other uses and causes.
The 2005 Building Energy Data Book provides a comparative relationship for the estimated Energy Usage in the home for various applications, as shown on the Pie Chart on the right.Space heating accounts for the biggest chunk of a typical utility bill, which is about the same as Appliances and Lighting.The Whole House energy efficiency approach is to find out which part of your house uses the most energy, and suggest cost-effective measures to bring about energy savings.
The 2005 Building Energy Data Book also provides a breakdown of the total residential energy consumption for all homes in the United States, as shown in the Pie Chart on the right.This clearly shows that space heating/cooling and hot water heating accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total residential energy consumption.Lighting, appliances, electronics, and computers contribute to about 30 per cent of the total energy consumption.Space heating/cooling loads may be reduced by buttoning up the house and by implementing energy efficiency measures in the building shell.Space heating/cooling and hot water equipment end-energy use may be improved by using higher efficiency equipment.Lighting loads may be reduced through use of compact fluorescent bulbs, dimmers and sensors.Appliance loads may be reduced through use of higher efficiency Energy Star appliances.
(Click on images on right to enlarge Charts)
Click Image to enlarge (Source: USDOE - EERE)
Click Image to enlarge (Source: USDOE - EERE)
Do-It-Yourself Tips for Saving Energy in Your Home
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy provides the following Do-It-Yourself tips for saving energy. Also save water by installing low-flow showerheads and water aerators.
To Do Today
Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.
Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.
Survey your incandescent lights for opportunities to replace them with compact fluorescents (CFLs). These lamps can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. The best targets are 60-100W bulbs used several hours a day. New CFLs come in many sizes and styles to fit in most standard fixtures.
Check the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. You may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model before it dies.
Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters.
If you have one of those silent guzzlers, a waterbed, make your bed today. The covers will insulate it, and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.
Visit the hardware store. Buy low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and compact fluorescent light bulbs, as needed. These can be purchased from any hardware or home improvement store. CFLs are now sold at some drug stores and grocery stores.
If your water heater is old enough that its insulation is fiberglass instead of foam, it clearly will benefit from a water heater blanket from the local hardware or home supplies store. (To tell the difference, check at the pilot light access (gas). For electric water heaters, the best access is probably at the thermostat, but be sure to turn off the power before checking.)
Rope caulk very leaky windows.
Assess your heating and cooling systems. Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.
Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the biggest bill for energy conservation remedies.
Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually not windows and doors, but utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Better yet, hire an energy auditor with a blower door to point out where the worst cracks are. All the little, invisible cracks and holes may add up to as much as an open window or door, without you ever knowing it!
Set your thermostat back (forward) when you can accept cooler (warmer) conditions. This generally includes night time and whenever you leave your home for several hours. Many people find it easier to use an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the thermostat based on your time-of-day instructions.
Schedule an energy audit for more expert advice on your home as a whole, or learn how to conduct your own by visiting the Home Energy Saver Web site. A directory of available energy audit services by state is available at RESNET.
Insulate. If your walls aren't insulated have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. Bring your attic insulation level up to snuff.
Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment.
Upgrade leaky windows. It may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or to boost their efficiency with weatherstripping and storm windows.
Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up in the fall and spring, respectively. Duct sealing can also improve the energy efficiency and overall performance of your system (warm-air furnace and central air conditioners).
A Carbon Footprint measures your impact on the environment and climate change in tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. Sources of CO2 emissions for a typical household are given below.
Your choice of vehicle has the biggest impact on your carbon footprint. Each gallon of gasoline you burn creates 20 pounds of CO2. The average vehicle emits 6.7 tons of CO2 each year. For more information, refer to
How to reduce your Carbon Footprint
Carbonfootprint.com provides a breakdown of a
typical person’s carbon footprint, and tips to reduce a person’s primary and
Energy Conservation in A Home
You’d be amazed how many places are there to save energy in a home. Here are some of the areas to look into:
Button Up Your House Walls Fenestration - Windows and Doors Roof Attic Air Leaks Insulation
Heating System Cooling System Hot Water Heating Duct System
Lighting and Appliances
Indoor Lighting Outdoor Lighting Food Storage – Refrigerator, Freezer Cooking Dishwashing Laundry Other Appliances Electronics Computers Other electrical equipment