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Energy Conservation; How to Save Energy in Homes and Offices

Homeowners can bring about certain convenient changes in their life styles, resulting in substantial energy savings.

In view of rising electricity prices and environmental concerns regarding burning of fossil fuels, the conservation of electricity at homes and commercial establishments is an important notion. Experts recommend certain approaches that occupants can implement to reduce consumption of electricity, resulting in lower electricity bills. Many of these easy-to-adopt practices are applicable to both homes and offices.

Controlling Energy Costs for Heating Water

In many developed countries, cost of heating water represents a significant component of a family’s energy bill. Certain consumer habits can reduce hot water energy losses, thus lowering the associated costs:

Do not let the bath shower run for long periods of time while preparing to get in.
Old hot water tanks can be insulated using insulation kits commonly available at hardware stores.
Use point-of-use water heaters that operate only when the water tap is turned on; in this way, energy losses from a standing hot water tank are eliminated.
Lower the water heater thermostat temperature by 10 degree Fahrenheit; this will not only result in energy savings but also prevent the risk of scalding by exceedingly hot water.
In order to reduce hot water consumption, use low-flow shower heads in bathrooms.

Conserving Energy in Air Conditioning

The conditioning of room air during both summer and winter makes a significant portion of energy consumption; however, certain recommended practices can be adopted to gain energy savings:

Turn down the thermostat at night, or when the family is away; a programmable thermostat with an appropriate schedule can be used for this purpose.
Change the indoor dress style of the occupants so that the indoor air temperatures can be set lower in winter and higher in summer.
Use ceiling fans in summer to reduce the use of air conditioners.
Use weather stripping around leaky doors and windows to eliminate heat losses to outdoors in winter.
Use insulated curtains in order to reduce energy losses through windows at night.
Close the rooms not in use and turn off their heating ducts.
Follow a plan for changing heating furnace filters and other required services.
Use double-paned thermal windows for reducing air conditioning requirements in both winter and summer; these windows allow the sun’s warmth to enter into the room when the sun is low in the winter but block the sunlight when the sun is high in the summer.
Reducing Insulation Losses
Due to the natural tendency of hot air to rise to upper atmosphere, a majority of heat losses occur through the building roof; properly installed insulation on ceilings and exterior walls can reduce heat losses to a considerable extent while minimizing energy consumption and costs related to space heating.

Dealing with Phantom Loads

Some electronic device such as televisions, microwave ovens and computers consume energy even when they are not in use, resulting in obvious energy losses. That is why a wall transformer is warm to touch even if no appliance is plugged in; this warmth represents the heat energy lost to the atmosphere.

A recommended technique in this case is to use a power strip for these electronic devices, and turn it off when the appliances are not in use. An alternative approach is to unplug any wall transformers such as cell phone batteries charging tools when not in use.

Landscaping for Energy Conservation

The objective of energy conservation can also be achieved through special landscaping; for example, trees can be grown in such a way that their leaves block sunlight on the south side of the house during summer season. Conversely, in the winter season; trees can shed leaves allowing sunlight through to warm the house. Similarly, rows of trees or bushes on the north side of a house, called windbreaks, can block winter winds, thereby lowering heating bills.

Energy Savings at Home

Energy experts urge consumers to save energy by adopting certain conservation habits; these recommended approaches can effectively reduce electricity consumption by eliminating energy losses. In addition to the monetary benefits in the form of reduced electricity bills, less consumption of fossil fuels ensures a decreased environmental footprint from consumers.