Energy generation is essential for the functioning of the modern world, with billions of people relying on electricity for domestic use every single day.
However, it brings with it a huge environmental cost – a large percentage of energy generation is dependent on burning carbon-rich fossil fuels.
The energy generation emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide, along with other harmful gases and particles, into the atmosphere. These significantly contribute to climate change and cause other impacts that harm the planet.
In 2017, global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high of 32.5 gigatons, a great deal of which came from inefficient energy production and usage. This only emphasizes just how important finding and applying methods of improving energy efficiency is.
Thankfully, people are becoming increasingly aware of the concept, and want to live a more energy-efficient lifestyle.
This article will discuss a wide range of energy-efficient appliances and equipment in the home, which lowers the amount of electricity that is required. The less energy that is wasted, the less that needs to be produced.
10 Tips to Save Energy at Home & Reduce Carbon Emissions
1. Use Energy Star-certified Products
Using Energy Star-certified products has been proven to help the environment. During the past 30 years, evidence has shown that Energy Star has been very effective in reducing carbon emissions.
About 2.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide have been saved by the program, which is equal to around 670 coal-fired power stations.
The program has money-saving benefits too: purchasing Energy-Star certified products has also been shown to save households $4.50 for every $1 spent on electricity.
2. Look for the Energy Star Logo
An energy-efficient appliance can be achieved via consumer choices. In 1992, the Energy Star program was launched by both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy in order to promote energy efficiency.
The program certifies a wide range of products and services which consume less energy than competing products but still work just as effectively.
When shopping for any type of home appliance, look for the blue Energy Star logo on the packaging. Currently, over 75 appliances and electronics carry the logo, and the range is expected to keep on expanding.
3. Use New and Efficient Appliances
The newer an appliance is, the more likely it is to include up-to-date energy-conserving technology and will work the most efficiently, which will emit moderate amounts of carbon.
It is easy to see why – an Energy Star-certified refrigerator uses three-quarters of the electricity today than it did in 1992, whereas new clothes washes certified by the same program also use around 25% less energy, and 45% less water, than conventional models.
Even outside of the Energy Star program, new products are likely to be much more energy-efficient than old and worn-out appliances. In general, new technology is produced with environmental protection – and energy-saving measures – in mind.
Replacing old appliances with new products also reduces the cost of bills, with the average household saving over $500 a year if they make the change.
4. Replace Your Old Water Boiler
Did you know that water heating uses almost one-fifth of a home’s energy use? Whether gas or electricity is required to power a boiler, a huge amount of fossil fuels is used. Replacing an old boiler is very beneficial as new heating equipment often includes up-to-date energy-saving technology.
Greener boilers are specifically manufactured to reduce heat loss and maximize the amount of energy that is converted to heat. If just 10% of all American households bought an Energy Star-certified boiler, 13 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided each year.
5. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and a thermostatic radiator in each room of a house also play a large part in reducing energy usage. These allow you to set specific times as to when the heating should turn on and off, meaning that a home is only warm when people are there.
This technology also means that individual radiators can be set to run at specific times, preventing energy from being wasted by heating up empty rooms.
Using these controls effectively has been proven to be environmentally friendly, by helping a household cut their carbon footprint by around 660 pounds (300 kg) a year. Turning the thermostat down by a degree could save an extra 660 pounds (300 kg) of carbon annually.
6. Use Smart Controls
Smart heating controls usually provided via a cell phone app, can manage the temperature of your home remotely. For instance, just before you are about to return home, smart controls allow you to turn the heating on remotely.
Also, if after you leave your house, you forget to turn the heating off, the app can step in and do its work.
More advanced features include geo-location, which automatically turns off the heat when the last person leaves the home and detects if any windows have been left open when the heating is on.
Similar types of app controls can be applied elsewhere. This includes controlling the temperature of air conditioning units, switching lights in your home on and off when needed, and making sure that appliances are not left on standby.
This technology has to potential to save significant amounts of energy that are simply wasted and yet is easy to install and use.
7. Use Super-Efficient Electric Heat Pumps
In recent years, new technology has emerged that has been shown to be two to three times more efficient at heating up a house than boilers.
Named ‘super-efficient electric heat pumps’, these require far less energy than traditional methods of heating, which use significantly larger amounts of fossil fuels to produce the same amount of heat.
A range of different pumps are available on the market – they are suitable for different types of homes, and come in several sizes.
8. Install Efficient Cooling Systems
Air conditioning is a large energy-guzzler, using up to 6% of America’s total electricity consumption per year, which releases around 117 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Using up-to-date air conditioning systems is a great way of improving their energy efficiency, with Energy Star-certified units using around 15% less energy than conventional models.
However, there is an even more efficient cooling system – a ceiling fan. In many places which receive warm weather because of seasonal variations, these are a far less energy-consuming and cheaper method of cooling.
Ceiling fans have been found to make a room 10% cooler while using only a tenth of the energy of a large air conditioning unit.
Again, when shopping around for these, look for the Energy Star logo – ceiling fans with this rating are 60% more efficient than conventional fans, due to improved blade designs and motors.
9. Use Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
There are two main types of energy-efficient bulbs on the market to choose from – compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The CFLs found on the shelf today use 75% less energy than the traditional incandescent lightbulbs – and if every home in the United States swapped traditional bulbs for more Energy Star-certified CFLs, it would save the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as 800,000 cars.
However, they are currently being outdone by a new arrival – LEDs. These are even more energy-efficient than CFLs, converting 90% of all input electrical energy into light, requiring far less energy to produce the same amount of light as a traditional lightbulb.
Installing either type of lightbulb in the home is an easy way of improving the energy efficiency of the lighting system.
10. Use Appliances Less
Although this may seem a basic point, it is also rather important. In the home, a wide range of appliances and other electrical items could be used for fewer amounts of time, while being just as helpful around the home.
Lighting is often left on by accident in rooms where no one is present – ensuring that all light switches are flicked off when leaving a room helps to reduce a surprisingly large amount of a house’s total energy usage.
Similarly, leaving appliances on standby also requires small but significant amounts of energy – ensure that these are also switched off when not in use.
Turning on air conditioning only when it is uncomfortably hot, and using heating systems when it is noticeably cold, also helps to reduce electricity consumption. Making use of less hot water in the bath and when showering, and washing clothes at a lower temperature, are also important.
If you can, use many common appliances less frequently. Using the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they are totally full also lowers a household’s total electricity usage.
Why Saving Energy Important?
In 2016, around a fifth of all American greenhouse gas emissions were produced via domestic use. This goes to show just how vital energy efficiency is within the home.
Reduce Dependency on Fossil Fuels
If all households within the United States – and other carbon-producing countries – took energy efficiency seriously, this would reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and therefore significantly lower the concentrations of carbon dioxide (and other pollutants) that are emitted into the atmosphere.
Lower Utility Bills
Not only does being energy efficient raise many people’s environmental consciousness, by allowing people to feel that they are making a difference to the world, but it also helps to lower utility bills.
In 2020, the US Department of Energy estimated that the average household could save up to 25% on its energy bills if it adopted a wide range of energy efficiency measures.
While being energy efficient sounds great, where does the average person start in becoming more environmentally friendly around the home?
The steps explained above describe a range of different approaches and methods, from small-scale consumer choices to using cutting-edge energy-efficiency technology, that you can use in your home. Each of these is reasonably affordable for the average household and will allow you to reduce your impact on the environment.
Becoming more energy efficient is much easier and more cost-effective than you may have previously thought. You may not wish to follow all the steps listed above, but keeping to at least some of them is great if you desire to help the environment.
However, make sure that you start with some of the easier methods first, and then ease your way toward steps that involve making new purchases, rather than trying to adapt to these methods in one go. Otherwise, you may end up finding it to be tricky, and then give up.
However, you will see the benefits of being energy efficient early on, with monthly utility bills lowering, and your environmental awareness increasing.
Did you find this green article helpful? If so, share it with your friends and colleagues!