Electricity Use at Home

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

On average, Americans waste as much energy as two-thirds of the world’s population consumes. However, some simple changes can make a difference!

Replace incandescent bulbs If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) it would prevent an amount of pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road. CFLs provide high-quality light, smart technology, and design, requiring less energy while lasting longer than typical incandescent bulbs.

Change the three bulbs you use most in your house to compact fluorescent bulbs. Each compact fluorescent bulb will keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air over its lifetime. And while compact fluorescents are initially a lot more expensive than the incandescent bulbs you’re used to using, they last ten times as long and can save $30 per year in electricity costs.

Install automatic timers for lights that people in your house frequently forget to turn off when leaving a room. Turn your exterior lights off before you go to bed. If that makes you feel unsafe, install exterior sensor lights. Install and use light dimmers where you can.

Turn off lights and other electrical appliances such as televisions and radios when you’re not using them. You can save even more electricity at home by not watching TV at all!

Set your thermostats higher to conserve electricity: in the summer, keep it at 78°F. In the winter, set your thermostat at 68°F in the daytime and 55°F at night. Remember that water heaters work most efficiently between 120°F and 140°F. In your refrigerator, set the temperature at about 37°F and adjust the freezer to operate at about 3°F.

Perform a home energy audit to identify target areas for improvement in your home. Two key areas are insulation and air leaks. Insulation can be installed in exterior walls, ceilings, floors, attics, crawlspaces, and around pipes and ducts to help keep your home warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. “Leaky” window and door frames, baseboards, electrical outlets, fireplaces and foundations let warm air escape in the winter, and let warm air in during the summer. Find your home’s weak points and do something about it – both for your wallet, and the environment!

Resources on the Web:

Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings – from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Information about Compact Fluorescent Bulbs – from Energy Star
Buy CFLs Now! – at GreenHome.com
Residential Energy Audit Software – from the EPA
Online Home Energy Audit – from OUC
Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit – from the US Dept of Energy