Commercial buildings and offices are responsible for a substantial portion of America's overall energy usage --- almost 20 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (see References 1). Reducing power consumption at work can be good for a business's bottom line, and the wide array of energy-consuming office devices provides a range of opportunities for improving efficiency. Whether you're changing your ...
Saving energy is part of going green; by adjusting your habits and home layouts, you can reduce energy consumption immediately. Cutting your energy use does not require structural modifications, which is beneficial if you rent an apartment or if you do not want to make costly changes.
Living green means paying attention to the details as well as large issues. Saving energy on the light bulbs you use is an immediate and affordable way for you to cut down on your energy use. One light bulb doesn't solve global warming or make you carbon neutral, but added up over millions of households, energy-saving bulbs are powerful tools in sound environmental living.
Compact fluorescent lamps, also called CFLs, use up to 75 percent less energy than comparable incandescent light bulbs (See References 1). CFLs, which contain a small amount of mercury vapor, are designed to fit in standard home light fixtures and come in several different styles. According to Energy Star, the United States could lower greenhouse gas emissions by 9 billion lbs. per year if every household replaced a ...
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Heating and cooling, appliances and electronics account for more than half the energy used in an average household. Several electric devices can lower the amount of energy you use in these three categories, either by reducing the amount of power drawn by other appliances or electronics directly or by doing the same job as another, more energy-hungry device. (See References 1)
If your power and water bills rise dramatically every summer, your garden might not be as green as it looks. In fact, although a beautiful garden can bring joy, it can also waste energy. Changing some of your habits can save significant amounts of power, water and money. Even if your garden doesn't cost much to grow, you can still improve it and save energy with clever landscape design.
If you're looking to save money and reduce your carbon footprint, your heating and cooling systems are among the best places to start. The average household spent more than $1,000 on heating and cooling in 2009, according to Energy Star, a project of the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. Since power plants generally burn fossil fuels to make electricity, high energy use adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in addition to draining your wallet. But heating and cooling systems are continually being improved, which means you can upgrade yours to be more environmentally and financially responsible. (See References 1, page 2)
When you want to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on utility bills, start by conserving energy. More than 40 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is in the residential and commercial sectors, according to the Energy Information Administration, which means homes and other buildings (see References 1). For individuals, the best way to save energy is in those two sectors because you have the most control -- whether it's in the home or the workplace. Even small changes can add up to make a big impact.
A building's windows dramatically affect its energy efficiency. In winter, heat loss through typical windows can boost a building's heating bill as much as 25 percent (see References 1). In summer, the heat flow reverses, with sunlight warming the building's interior through its windows and causing air conditioners to work harder. Energy-efficient windows can help in both these situations. And if the building's electricity comes from a fossil-fuel power plant, installing energy-saving windows also shrinks the building's carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at that plant.
Saving money is an important goal, but often hard to do with the high cost of energy. As of 2005, the average American family paid $1,900 annually for utility bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (see References 4, page 4-4). The agency claims many families can save money and reduce their energy use by up to 25 percent by changing some of their habits at home and on the road. (See References 1)
When you think of a light bulb, you probably visualize an incandescent lamp -- the glass globe with a tiny filament that lights. It might be time to change your mental image. In homes around the world, compact fluorescent lamps are replacing standard incandescent bulbs. These spiral-shaped bulbs produce more light per watt, so use only about 1/4 of the energy of comparable incandescent bulbs (see References 3).
An investment in energy efficient curtains will save you money during winter and summer months. Energy efficient curtains serve a dual purpose; they retain heat during the winter and reject heat in the summer, resulting in lower cooling and heating bills. You'll control how much sun is allowed to enter your home, and when, by adjusting the energy efficient curtains to be either open or closed.
If you work in an office, it's likely that you go through a lot of paper products every year. According to the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, people in the U.S. use approximately 4 million tons of copy paper per year, much of it in offices. The average office worker in the United States uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually. (See References 1) You can make a significant dent in the amount of paper you use at the office by making a few simple changes to workplace policy.
If every American household replaced just one standard incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 9 billion pounds annually, which is equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars. Those estimates are from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also says that replacing a single standard bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) in each household would save American homeowners a collective total of roughly $600 million in annual energy costs. (See References 1)
Even with an efficient furnace or boiler, oil energy can be an expensive method of home heating, with frequent oil price fluctuations making cost predictions difficult. Reducing the cost of oil heating starts with efficient appliances, but you must also consider housewide energy efficiency. Drafts, insulation, efficient windows, sealed doors, auxiliary heat and thermostat settings all contribute to your home's overall efficiency profile. Managed smartly, adjustments to all these variables can help reduce your oil energy costs.
If every home in America replaced one standard incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient fluorescent, we'd save enough energy to light 3 million homes, according to Energy Star (see References 1). It might be hard to believe that a tiny bulb can make such a difference, until you think about how many lights you use each day and night. Incandescent bulbs work, but they're less efficient than their fluorescent counterparts. Fluorescents are a widely available alternative that will save you money while they save energy.
If every household in the United States were to replace just one incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient one, we would save nine billion pounds of greenhouse gases every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see references 1). This is not only beneficial to the environment, but it's a boon to your budget as well. Energy efficient bulbs may cost more initially, but can save you up to $105 over the life of the bulb in reduced energy costs, reports the U.S. Department of Energy (see references 2).
Household appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, account for 13 percent of household energy consumption (see References 6). Appliances manufactured in the 1990s or earlier use approximately twice the energy as models that meet the newer federal efficiency standards. When replacing broken household appliances or upgrading to more efficient models, look for the Energy Star label to ensure maximum energy savings (see References 3).
Energy costs are a big ticket item for schools. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that schools spend more money on energy than they do on anything other than personnel (see References 1, sidebar). But of course saving energy isn't only about saving money; it's also important to empower students with the knowledge that simple strategies can significantly impact fossil fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
You can reduce your environmental impact and lower your utility bills through a few basic lifestyle changes that include attention to energy consumption and efficiency. Whether you are building a new home, upgrading your existing home, considering the impact of your daily commute or encouraging energy efficiency at your workplace or school, every little bit counts. Your actions not only directly benefit the planet and your pocketbook, but they may inspire others to consider changes in their lifestyles. (See References 1)
The kitchen is home to a number of large, energy-eating pieces of equipment. For several major appliances, there are more efficient models on the market that can help reduce home utility bills. Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, provides its stamp of approval on those appliances that meet its guidelines, giving consumers an easy way to search for energy-efficient options. (See References 4)
Energy savings are part of a bigger picture of the benefits of carpooling, which also saves you costs related to parking, tire replacement, depreciation, tolls and maintenance. Sharing a ride saves you an average of almost $900 a year, estimates the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (see References 1). Calculating your energy savings requires looking at fuel saved by sharing your ride.
Energy Star is a project that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy jointly administer. Following stringent energy guidelines set by EPA and DOE, Energy Star labeling designates household and commercial products that conserve energy. By purchasing and using Energy Star items, homeowners can lower their utility bills and decelerate global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions --- those gases released into the air during manufacturing and energy production that trap heat inside Earth's atmosphere. (See References 1) The level of energy savings among Energy Star labeled products varies, depending on the model and category. As a rule, energy saving levels will be revisited and perhaps revised once Energy Star products in a given category reach market share of 50 percent or more, or if there are technological breakthroughs or changes in federal standards (References 2).
Your home is your palace, but even palaces need upgrades. With energy costs rising and environmental concerns spreading, it's a good idea to cut back on the energy you use at home. One of the more effective ways to do this is to install insulation. A well-insulated house, sealed against air leaks, can be heated and cooled much more efficiently than the typical drafty home. Update your home now and enjoy your lowered energy bill.
An energy-saving shower head reduces water and energy bills with a low initial investment. The typical household could save 2,300 gallons of water per year --- as well as the cost of heating that water --- by replacing older or inefficient fixtures with water-saving models. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the U.S. could save $1.5 billion annually in water bills, $2.5 billion annually in electric bills and conserve 250 billion gallons of water each year by converting to shower heads with a flow rate of 2 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. (See References 1)
The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, was established by the U.S. government in 1970 for the purpose of promoting the health of Americans and protecting the natural environment. The EPA performs monitoring, enforcement and research promoting clean air, clean water and land free of contaminants (see References 1). Energy conservation claims a spot beneath the EPA umbrella, because ideally, when Americans use less energy, commercial power plants produce fewer pollutants.
When you live in a mobile home, the process of saving energy is different from that of a traditional house, primarily because of the different types of construction materials used. Depending on the age of your mobile home, you could face a number of issues that cause your utilities to be higher; the older a mobile home is, the more inefficient it is likely to be. While you may not be able to change the structure of your mobile home, you can make small changes that save money on utilities and reduce your impact on the environment. (See References 1)
A primary aim of the recycling movement is to reduce the amount of household waste headed for landfills. Recycling also helps reuse and conserve valuable resources, reducing the need for fresh materials in creating consumer products. Using recycled materials can also lower energy costs for manufacturers, in some cases by a substantial amount compared to using raw materials.
More than 40 different 2011 models of hybrid cars vied for U.S. market share, including not only compacts, but sedans, SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. With fuel economy figures for hybrids ranging from a high of 51 city/48 highway miles per gallon, to a low of 17 city/21 highway, the money you stand to save by choosing a hybrid depends on the model. (See References 1) By comparing initial price and fuel savings, you can determine whether a particular hybrid is more economical than its standard counterpart.
One of the easiest ways to go green at home is to replace your standard lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs. In doing so, the U.S. Department of Energy states that you can use up to 75 percent less energy on lighting. Because lighting is responsible for about 11 percent of your home's energy use, this switch can significantly reduce your power bills. (See References 3)
If you live in a drafty house, you're only too aware of the energy being lost through the walls and windows. To save energy, you may well be considering replacing your windows. Although doing so can certainly improve your home's energy efficiency, it may not be as cost-effective as you think. New windows save energy, but they may not be the best way to lower your bills.
By saving energy at home, on the road, at work and at school, you can do your part to reduce greenhouse gases and environmental pollutants while helping cut back on the nation's dependency on nonrenewable and often imported oil. Additionally, energy-saving practices can save you considerable amounts of money. Some of these methods are free or inexpensive, while others require an initial investment. Shifting your overall mindset to include energy-saving practices can have a ripple effect, encouraging friends, families and coworkers to do the same.
Installing double-paned windows can help cut down the energy costs of heating and cooling by providing an extra layer of insulation. By choosing replacement windows certified as energy-efficient and given the Energy Star seal, you can save up to 15 percent on energy bills. Actual savings vary by location, but in some areas, estimates were over $200 and up to 2,825 pounds of carbon dioxide saved in a year. (See References 3)
Renovations and changes needed to save energy can sometimes require considerable time and expense, but you can also save energy without spending a lot of time or money. Saving energy can be as easy as flipping a switch or pressing a button, resulting in appreciable energy savings and lower energy costs for you and the environment.
In both business and at home, making changes to reduce your energy and water consumption can have a positive impact on the environment. In addition to reducing the strain on the planet's resources, saving energy and water can translate to lower utility bills and operational costs. As you make a plan to go green, keep in mind that even small changes can add up to a big difference.
Energy-saving computer monitors use less electricity than typical computer monitors do. Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, has measurable standards for computer monitors to receive the official Energy Star designation as an energy-efficient product. Energy Star monitors are 20 percent more efficient on average than standard monitors. (See References 1)
More than 87 million American homes had clothes dryers in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (see References 1, page 3). Clothes dryers use more energy than any other type of home appliance except refrigerators (see References 2). Air-drying clothes can help reduce demand for fossil fuels to power appliances, and is nearly free. Use a drying rack to save energy and reap the benefits of lower bills.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, during a typical winter day, more heat escapes though a window than comes in from the sun. (See Reference 1) Window films provide a protective layer over the entire window. These films prevent some heat loss during the winter months. They also prevent heat gain during the summer months by blocking some of the sun’s rays. (See Reference 2) While you can purchase manufactured window films, you can also make your own from a variety of materials such as baking sheet paper. Both clear wax papers and brown parchment baking paper will work as window film.
The typical family in the United States spends about $1,900 per year on home utilities and wastes much of the energy it pays for, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (see Reference 1). Fortunately, making numerous small adjustments to your home can have a large impact on your total energy consumption.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that as much as 15 percent of energy use in the home comes from the kitchen, and 4.5 percent comes from cooking alone. (See Reference 1) Forced-air convection ovens use a fan to circulate air throughout the oven, which can reduce cooking times by up to two-thirds, according to Energy Star. (See Reference 2, Page 100) However, you can take steps to make your convection oven even more energy efficient.
Many homeowners have installed heat pump heating/cooling systems because they are among the most efficient systems available. Further energy savings can come by minimizing the length of time the heat pump is running and using energy. An easy way to do this is by using an automated day/night thermostat to change the home’s indoor temperature settings on a regular schedule. Most people find turning down the heat at night when they are sleeping then turning up the heat during the hours they are awake is an energy saving strategy.
For environmentally conscious consumers, choosing low-impact cooking methods can be one way of reducing a home's energy use and therefore its carbon footprint. Choosing between electrical devices is a relatively straightforward matter of comparing their respective wattage and cooking time. Comparing gas against an electric device, such as a slow cooker, is a more complicated procedure.
Collectively, homes in the U.S. produce 17 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the nation. Each person releases 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year from home energy use alone (see References 8). People use a substantial volume of water at home as well -- the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water a day, according to the EPA (see References 7). Going green can save you a sizable amount of money on your water and energy bills, while providing a healthier environment for you and your family.
The decision to use paper plates or china involves looking at the entire process from manufacturing the products through their use. The U.S. generated more than 1.3 million tons of paper plates and cups in 2010, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (See Reference 1, Page 5) Of that figure, a negligible amount was recovered for recycling. Lenox, a china manufacturer, can produce up to 20,000 pieces of china each day. Despite its fragile nature, china is a durable good that can last for decades. (See Reference 2)