Top 10 Household Energy Conservation Techniques
We're still not there, but we're getting there. As solar and wind energy technologies continue to mature to the point where we can fully rely on them for our energy needs, coal and gas-dependent energy prices keep skyrocketing. The typical household relies on these non-renewable forms of energy, but they're quickly running out, or becoming more expensive to attain.
Besides leaving a hole in our pockets, our energy consumption patterns are damaging the environment. In order to give mother nature a break, and to help you save some of your hard-earned cash, we've compiled a list of innovative energy conservation techniques and tools that you should incorporate into your household habits.
Fill a hot water thermos with your days supply of hot water.
Every time you boil the kettle, approximately 0.03125 kWh of electricity is required and about 0.015kg of CO2 is generated. These figures may seem pretty low, but given that on average, a household kettle is boiled up to eight times a day, these figures quickly add up to 0.25 kWh electricity and 0.12kg CO2 respectively.
Another habit that is intensifying our kettle boiling energy consumption is that we rarely only boil the volume of water required. A UK study showed that by boiling twice the amount of water needed, kettle usage in the UK alone creates an unnecessary 3,525 ton of CO2 every day. To reduce the energy required (in other words, money spent on electricity bills!) and your carbon footprint, fill a hot water thermos with enough hot water for your days coffee measure. It's a simple and easy way to lower your household energy levels.
Plant a tree.
Planting a tree at the right place in your yard can reduce your household energy needs by up to 30%.
Not bad, seeing that all you will need is a fast-growing tree, and some water to keep it growing! The rest is all free, nature's services at its best. But what function does a tree in your yard serve? Positioning the tree according to your geographic location (north for the southern hemisphere, south and west for the northern hemisphere) can offer shade where you need it most. By reducing the heat pockets around your home, a tree can reduce the need for indoor cooling during summer. And if you plant a deciduous tree (trees that lose their leaves during winter), sunlight and warmth will enter your home during winter. But be sure to get landscaping advice on the specific tree that will best suit your needs, trees can grow tall and wide, so best check what your yard space allows for.
Find and manage energy leaks using energy-saving mobile apps and systems.
Your household can be losing up to 10% of valuable energy to vampire energy. Vampire energy is the energy used by applications that are left on standby, or plugged in. Apart from vampire energy, you are likely also losing energy through energy leaks, and paying for it.
Armed with information technology and your smartphone, eliminating these energy-hungry monsters just became a whole lot easier. Your choice lies between smartphone apps (i.e. iGo Vampire Calculator, Kill-Ur-Watts, Green Outlet) or computer-controlled household energy management systems. Both are excellent options that require minimal technology and devices. The advantages? Being in control of your energy use, and finding energy losses that you are unaware of.
Switch to light colored or non-opaque blinds and lamp shades.
We've all heard about energy-saving light bulbs and low lighting options that save energy, but did you know that your lampshades and blinds should not be ruled out of the energy-saving equation? Here's why: a dark lamp shade can absorb up to half of the energy emitted by your light bulb. This leaves you with only 50% of the available light. By using light or non-opaque lampshades, the light spill will be highly efficient.
The same accounts for window blinds: switch to light colored or non-opaque blinds to allow for maximum natural light during the day, reducing the need for energy intensive lighting during the day. If you live in an area where hot days are problematic, do the opposite. Change to dark colored blinds to keep the heat out, and the cool inside!
Exchange your traditional dark roof color for a lighter, reflective roof color.
Scientists say that a world with white home roofs could, during a twenty year period, balance out all inclusive greenhouse gases produced in one year. That is quite something to think about, seeing that roofs are passive: no high-tech business or intensive costs required! The reason for this is roof albedo: dark surfaces are excellent sunlight absorbers, but this means that your dark roof is trapping heat inside your home, necessitating indoor cooling. Lighter roof colors on the other hand reflect heat away from your home.
A dark roof can reach 150F in summer, in comparison to a white roof reaching only 50F. Reaping the benefits is as easy as giving your roof a light color coating. But what about winter? Research has shown that summer savings outweighs the winter costs. Still, to offer the best for both seasons, changeable roof tiles, changing color based on temperature, are in its final design phases – soon to be available for households around the world.