Environmental Business and Information Resources
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Energy Efficient Practices for Homes and Businesses
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation is the efficient use of available energy to ensure personal cost savings, preservation of the environment and non-depletion of the energy sources (particularly the non-renewable sources).
Energy conservation is the first active effort towards reducing the release of Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and hence reducing the effect of our actions on global warming. It is also an effort that is practically possible for all and sundry to be involved in their our little ways culminating in a huge effort globally.
As we cut down on energy, we cut down on GHGs emissions and lower the effects of global climate change. Also, reduction in energy usage reduces our demand for fossil fuels which are non-renewable and could be exhausted.
The four areas that you and indeed anyone can be involved in energy conservation at home, in your office and everyday endeavours to ensure that collective positive impact is made on our planet in terms of reducing emissions to our atmosphere are:
- Energy Efficiency and conservation - Green tips for individual homes and businesses
- Energy Efficiency/Conservation - Reducing deforestation by reducing paper usage
- Energy Efficiency/Conservation - Using Energy Friendly Transportation Modes
- Energy Efficiency and conservation ideas - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Wastes to reduce Energy Demands for Waste Disposal
Category 1 is described below. Please follow the links in the left panel of this page to learn more about the other 3 categories.
Energy Efficiency and conservation - Green tips for individual homes and businesses
On the home front and small businesses, there are several things that we can do on individual basis to cut down on energy usage which will eventually save us money and reduce emissions, thereby helping our planet. The following are some ideas for greening our world at home:
Switching of any fixtures not in use - switch of unused lights/appliances while you are at home. Switch off all lights and appliances (except maybe refrigerator and freezers) when not at home or during holidays. You can install automatic and timed/motion sensitive switches to help with ensuring that your lights and appliances are off when not. Do not leave equipment (appliances inclusive) running when they are not in use.
Clean your light bulbs (while the power is off) regularly - Dusts build up can reduce the light intensity of your bulbs by 25%. Cleaning the bulb increases efficiency and makes you to use less energy, since you will only need to turn on a few bulbs to have the sense that your surroundings have been adequately lighted.
Tune-up your appliances regularly - regular maintenance including cleaning up all filters, coils and other components of your appliances cut down on energy usage and saves you money
Change your incandescent bulbs - Change your incandescent bulbs to energy efficient compact florescent (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. They use two-thirds less energy and give off 70% less heat than the incandescent bulbs
Window Coverings: Use your window coverings to help warm (during cold periods) or cool (during hot periods) your house. This cuts down the amount of energy for heating and air-conditioning your home. You can also use bright coverings to allow in more light or darker coverings reduce house light to desirable level thereby reducing the length of time light from your bulbs are required.
Cold-water washing - Wash your clothes using cold water. Many detergents clean just as well in cold water.
Improved Insulation - Make your home more energy efficient through improved insulation, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows. Keep the heat in closing doors and windows and sealing or cracks/leaks.
Furnaces and Boilers - Have your furnace or boiler serviced regularly - you will burn less fuel and get more heat.
Programmable thermostat - Install and use a programmable thermostat. For every 1Â° C you lower your thermostat you can save up to 2% on your heating bill. A reduction of 3Â° C at night and when you are away during the day provides optimal savings and can reduce your greenhouse gas by half a tonne.
Energy Efficient Appliances - When buying a new appliance, choose energy efficient ones. Many Governments (worldwide) are now providing incentives, in terms of tax rebates for citizens that buy energy efficient appliances.
Energy Efficient Homes - When building new houses, build energy efficient houses as lending organizations could give rebates for energy efficient buildings and you save on energy/contribute very little to carbon emissions during the lifetime of the building. Some agencies gives premium rebates on energy efficient homes (e.g. CMHC premium rebate on energy efficient homes). You can also retrofit your old homes and make it energy efficient. Again there are a couple of incentives for you if this is the option open to you.
Home Designs - Adopt home designs that make use of natural lighting or daylighting or allow natural heating and ventilation of the house to reduce energy demands for heating and cooling.
Wise use of water - You can use water wisely by adopting some of the following actions:
- Set water heater to moderate temperature to save energy;
- Wrap heaters older than 5 years in an insulating blanket;
- Buy low-flow shower-heads;
- Wash clothes with warm or cold water.
- Use energy-saving settings on the dishwater and let the ditches air-dry.
Energy Audits - Carry out constant energy-audits with your utility company to find out your energy usage and how you are loosing or gaining energy so you will know next steps.
Home Gardening / Plant Trees - If possible do home gardening and/or plant trees around your house.
Spread the word - Share energy saving/conservation ideas with others, so that many more will be contributing to the global improvement in their own little ways - many a mickle makes a muckle in the fight against climate change so that we can preserve our planet together.
Others - Some other miscellaneous actions are: line dry your clothes, sweep your floors instead of vacuuming, opening your windows during times of heat and closing them when cold, dressing appropriate at home (wear your sweater at home during winter and lighter clothes during summer), etc.