08 March 2009

green your electricity

The cost of energy in terms of money and also environmental risks is going up. 50% of the energy generated in the US is from coal. The percentage of energy sources from other other parts of the world is more of less around the same figure. However there are some ways in which you can save energy and here are some useful tips on how to improve your energy usage:

Audit yourself
A home energy audit is a way to inventory your home's energy use, where energy is lost and where it can be saved. You can do an energy audit yourself or get a pro.

Reduce your use
  • Replace your light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Turn off lights and other devises when they're not needed
  • Eliminating electronics that sleep on a standby setting - remember 'vampire power'
  • Clothes driers gobble up a lot of power, so line drying can be a great energy saver
Put your house on a diet
Homes consume an enormous amount of energy, especially in heating and cooling. Keep your house cool with natural ventilation instead of air conditioning as much as possible. Use in-room, ceiling, or whole-house fans to move air throughout the house. Blocking sunlight during hot hours of the day can help lower your cooling load. If your house uses electricity for water heating, wrapping your water tank in an insulating blanket can save on power.

Buy wise
After cooling and heating, appliances and other plug-in devises are the next biggest users of energy in your abode. When looking for new appliances, seek out the most energy-efficient models. Most new appliances come with a yellow EnergyGuide label which shows its consumption in terms of kWh per year. Also look for Energy Star rated products. Electronics like computers and audio equipment can be big power suckers, too. Look for EPEAT and Energy Star rating for these.

Homemade juice
Installing an home alternative energy system is becoming more and more cost effective as technology improves and assistance programs spread. Photovoltaic, or solar electric, systems are the most common. Depending on your available space, local climate, budget, and local utility, a solar electric system can provide all the energy needed for a typical home.

Charge up your toys
For all the portable electronic gizmos in your life, consider feeding them green power with a solar charger. Some look like notebooks, cell phones, flowers, or are built into backpacks. Your MP3 player, laptop, PDA, cell phone, and camera can all be charged with portable solar, and you'll never find yourself searching for a plug.

If you build it…you will save
A home or building designed and constructed around energy efficiency can realize enormous savings. Everything from the positioning of the house, use of daylight and natural ventilation, lighting, appliances, renewable energy system can push a building to net zero energy consumption. If you are considering building a home, do serious renovations, or an addition, make sure that energy efficiency is a key design criterion. The Energy Star rating system has a home certification program and LEED now has a rating system for residential homes.

Sign up for green power
Getting green power may be as easy as checking a box on your energy bill. It often costs a bit more but not much and it helps support the industry for clean, green power. Before you sign up, though, ask where they're getting their power from. If it's a source like waste coal or waste-to-power, you might be better off buying your credits elsewhere.

Think lifecycle
We all use energy. Even an off-the-grid house is filled with embodied energy. Everything from the power it took to manufacture the solar panels to the fuel burned in transporting the micro wind turbine from the factory - embodied energy or lifecycle energy, is in everything we buy and use. Manufacturing, advertising, packaging, shipping, etc. are all part of a product's energy history. Look at the bigger picture - be energy smart and rethink your choices.

(Sourced from www.treehugger.com)

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