There are plenty of energy savings tips that a family can take advantage of without having to invest a lot of time or money. No building is 100 percent efficient, but taking measures to get as close as possible will reduce power costs by a significant amount annually. New technologies are always coming out, and they are always pushing the boundary on what constitutes efficient usage. Those that are willing to invest a little cash will be able to produce even greater returns.
It is unlikely that a homeowner will know instinctively where the wasteful areas in the house are located. It could be the lighting, the appliances, the insulation, the thermostat, or any number of other devices. Because of this, one of the best energy savings tips homeowners can follow is to ask for a power audit from the utility company. This is a low cost way to get a professional to examine the home and pinpoint where the problem areas are. It usually doesn’t take very long, and following the audit, the utility company will produce a report that outlines some excellent ways to reduce waste. Following these recommendations can cut down on utility costs by up to 30 percent. This translates to several hundred every year.
Most buildings have a problem with outdated lighting technology, as tungsten-based incandescent fixtures are still the most popular choice. One of the easiest energy savings tips to follow is the replacement of obsolete bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. CFLs use a fraction of the electricity that incandescent bulbs require, because the latter are prone to emitting most of their energy in the form of heat. This makes CFLs cheaper to run and cool to the touch. Experts estimate that each CFL can save around $80 over the lifespan of the light.
Another soft spot in the home’s electrical infrastructure is the climate control center of the building. The thermostat and furnace can both be money pits, and if they are not efficient enough, they may also heat and cool the building poorly. Many contractors recommend thermostat replacement in their list of energy savings tips. Some of the newest models use sophisticated algorithms to self-program and learn where to set the temperature and humidity at certain times of the day. These devices often come with efficiency technology that switches the furnace on and off at just the right moment to achieve the desired temperature without overusing the HVAC unit. Although, they aren’t compatible with every furnace, they are fairly inexpensive, and will pay themselves off in a hurry.
Finally, for those that are willing to spend a little more, replacing aging and suboptimal appliances in the kitchen can net huge returns. As long as the money is there, this is one of the easier energy savings tips to implement, because the EPA oversees a program to help identify which appliances are the most efficient. Look for the devices that are rated highly by Energy Star, as these models are those that are certified by the EPA, and these appliances can function just as well as their less efficient cousins while cutting down on usage by as much as 20 percent.