Almost everything we use today takes energy. From making coffee in the morning to plugging in our phones at the end of the night, we use much more energy than we think. Energy isn’t limited to electrical, either. Becoming more energy efficient means thinking about how much electricity we use, how much water we use, and how much we can do to reduce that without sacrificing what we’re used to. There’s a difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation. Energy efficiency is reducing the amount of energy without sacrificing comfort, usually by installing appliances that use less energy. Energy conservation is changing your behavior and routines to use less energy, such as turning off the lights. We’ll share some tips to help keep your costs down without sacrificing comfort.
Change The Lightbulbs
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to become more energy efficient is to change your light bulbs. Switching from incandescent bulbs to either Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) can use about 25%-80% less energy, which saves you money. While the initial cost of energy efficient light bulbs may be higher, the money you’ll save by using them will certainly pay for them. Energy efficient bulbs last longer, too, so you won’t have to change them as often.
Energy Efficient Doors, Windows, and Skylights
Fenestration is any opening in a building’s envelope including doors, windows, and skylights. These openings can lose and gain heat through various ways, affecting the amount of heating and cooling you need to keep your home comfortable. Fortunately, there are ways to offset this issue, either by improving existing windows, doors, and skylights or by having new, energy efficient ones installed. To improve existing fenestration, use caulking, weatherstripping, or coverings to seal up cracks where air can leak out. If your budget allows for it, replacing windows, doors, and skylights with new, energy efficient ones can have a greater impact on reducing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
Energy Efficient Plumbing
Energy efficiency doesn’t only include electricity. Toilets, faucets, and showerheads use energy too. According to the EPA, a faucet that runs for five minutes uses about the same amount of energy as a 60-watt light bulb running for 22 hours. Due to the energy that it takes to treat, deliver, and heat water, using efficient plumbing will also increase energy efficiency. Investing in new plumbing can help decrease your water bill as well as help conserve water and energy. Investing in a new toilet is one of the best ways to increase efficiency as toilets account for nearly 30% of the average home’s water consumption. Replacing your existing toilet with a dual-flush, ultra-low-flush, or composting toilet is a great way to bring down your water bill. There are also energy efficient showerheads and faucets that will help you achieve your energy efficiency goals.