Energy use is a common concern for most people today, and there are plenty of factors that go into it. People need to know how much energy they need to live comfortable lives, from where they are getting their energy, what that energies effect is on the environment today and in the future, and whether they can afford to do anything different.
One of the best ways to improve your energy situation is to lower the amount that you use. And this can be done simply by doing fewer things that require energy, or making sure that your energy is being used in the most efficient way possible. In other words, you need to minimise waste.
First, let’s talk about efficient use. The best way to use less energy is to use devices that require less energy to operate. You can find these fairly easily while shopping for appliances by looking for the EU Energy Label, which indicates how energy efficient an item is. Most white goods, light bulb packaging and cars must have an EU Energy Label clearly displayed when offered for sale or rent. The energy efficiency of the appliance is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes from A to G on the label, A being the most energy efficient, G the least efficient. The labels also give other useful information to the customer as they choose between various models. The information should also be given in catalogues and included by internet retailers on their websites. You’ll usually spend more upfront for A rated products, but will save more in the long run on your energy bill.
Lighten the load
Another easy way to reduce your energy use significantly is to replace all the bulbs in your home with LED bulbs. LEDs are pretty popular today, so you probably already have a number of them in your home. But to give you an idea of how much good they are doing, here’s how they compare to traditional bulbs: LEDs cost six times less, use five times less energy, and last twenty-times longer. That’s so many multiples it difficult to actually imagine how much better they are than any other option. In fact, we’ve lived in our home for nearly four years now, and we just had a bulb go out for the first time.
The next step is to reduce energy waste. There are some easy habits you can pick up to do this, many of which you can learn just from watching whatever shows your kids watch. I remember Barney constantly reminding me to turn off the sink while brushing my teeth in the morning and to flip off the light when I left the room. And it was my parents constantly shouting after me to make sure I shut the door behind me or close the fridge while making a sandwich. These habits do make a major difference though. The energy you save in a moment may seem small, but all added together you’ll see a significant difference on your energy bill. So if you haven’t picked up the habit, it’s time to start.
To go a step further requires some more work and upfront cost, but will still save you a lot more in the long run. The best way to lower your energy use is to optimise your home. There are people who have done this so well that they’ve made their home completely “net-zero,” meaning they only use as much energy as they produce. While this may not be your exact goal, borrowing some of their methods is a great way to reduce your energy waste in a big way.
To get started, you’ll need to improve your insulation. The worst culprit for energy waste is a leaky container. Imagine your trying to preserve water, but your glass has a crack. Throughout a day, you would lose a surprising amount. The same principle is applied to your home. With better building materials and premium insulation, you can save a bunch of energy. You can further improve this by choosing double-glazed, high-performance glass for your windows rather than the standard options.
You can upgrade your water heater to a tankless system or one that draws heat out of the air. This can help you cool your home while heating up the water, allowing you to do more with one solution.
You might also consider a smart thermostat. These nifty devices monitor your heating and cooling habits so they can memorise your routine and adjust without you having to think about it. An added benefit is that they can also offer recommendations on how to save energy with better heating and cooling practices. It generally pays to choose smarter devices over not-so-smart ones.
Finally, another great way to save energy is by choosing a renewable energy source. We are partial to solar energy systems, which are becoming a much more accessible option for many home buyers. And with an added battery, you can even save unused energy for later use, making your system that much more efficient.
There are lots of great ways to reduce your energy use, or at least make it more effective. Hopefully, this gives you an idea about how to get started.