Indoor Conservation: Energy-Efficient Living

As America's need for energy grows, so does the need for energy efficiency. If each person adopts energy efficient behaviors and technologies, we can all reduce our energy consumption and save money.

Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency

One way homes can become energy efficient is through the EnergyStar® certified homes program. Homes in this program are built to meet strict energy efficient standards set energy star logoby the EPA. EnergyStar® certified homes are at least 30% more energy efficient than homes built to the 1993 national model energy code. This certification is achieved through a combination of energy efficient heating, cooling, hot water use, energy efficient appliances, and lighting. The benefits of an EnergyStar® certified home are improved home quality and homeowner comfort, lower environmental demand, air pollution reduction, and lower utility costs.

Use Less Heat & Air Conditioning

Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows, can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.

Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just two degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

Change a Light Bulb

light blubWherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

Drive Less & Drive Smart

Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Check out options for carpooling to work or school. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than three percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget. It also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Buy Energy-Efficient Products

When it’s time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs.
Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can't be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

Use the "Off" Switch

Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you're not using them. It’s also a good idea to turn off the water when you’re not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog, or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You’ll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

Plant a Tree

hands planting seedlingIf you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing, and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

Encourage Others to Conserve

Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment. These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

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