a discussion of at least 4 of the following items and how they relate to improving energy efficiency at home.
- Heating and cooling appliances
- Light bulbs
- Standby energy
- Energy Star appliances
- Weather strips
The heating and cooling appliances consume a major portion of electricity in US and an improvement in their operation can lead to a lot of electricity savings. If you have old systems, you may want to either replace them with more efficient one or at the very least check the air flow lines for any leakages to improve efficiency. Also, a simple habit like keeping the room closed while using these devices or keeping them at a constant & comfortable temperature (neither too high or low) can save a lot of energy.
Landscaping, especially shading by plants and trees can help you during the summer month in reducing the cooling requirements. Breeze off the grass also brings in cooling effect and hence reduces cooling requirements.
Light bulbs are an important drain of energy, depending on the type of lamp you use. An incandescent bulb has a life of 1200 hours as compared to 8000 hrs for CFL and 50000 for LED bulbs. A 6-8 watt LED bulb gives you the same amount of illumination as 13-15 watt CFL or 60 W incandescent bulb. Hence selection of the energy efficient bulb can save energy.
Standby energy or vampire energy or phantom load refer to energy drawn by electrical appliances while switched off but still connected to the circuit (or plugged in). By removing the plugs of all the equipment not in use or using smart equipment that uses less standby energy, we can save energy.
Energy Star appliances have lower energy requirements as compared to non-energy star compliant equipment. Note that these star-rated equipment are expensive, so have a higher capital cost, but a lower running cost and energy needs. Nowadays, one can buy a number of electrical appliances that are energy-star rated, including Air conditioning, refrigerator, computers, lights, dishwashers, etc. They come in 1 to 5 star range and higher stars represent more savings.
Insulation of walls (sun-exposed) and roofs reduces the heat island effect and helps reduce the cost of cooling.