How to make your home energy efficient
Curbed, September 20, 2016
In our eco-conscious (and money-conscious) age, there’s really no excuse for wasting energy at home. There are dozens of extremely easy, small steps you can take right now to minimize your use of energy resources and cut back your bill from the utility company. In 2014, families and businesses who simply switched to more energy-efficient appliances shaved a combined $34 billion off their utility bills.
But there’s more to energy-optimization than buying a new fridge. To find the most effective energy-saving tactics at all price points, Curbed checked in with Christina Kielich of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and certified home energy auditor Erlend Kimmich.
Replace your light bulbs
The typical American household spends 5-10 percent of its energy budget on lighting alone, according to the DOE. Incandescent light bulbs might give off a nice homey glow, but only 5 percent of their energy consumption is actually converted into light. Today’s LEDs, on the other hand, are an average of 85 percent more efficient than incandescents.
Unplug energy vampires
Did you know that even after it’s fully charged, leaving your cell phone plugged in continues to pull power from the grid? Same with your laptop, TV, stereo, game console, and any other electronic device. These unused-but-plugged-in devices draw unnecessary energy that really adds up over time.
Get in the habit of unplugging chargers once a device is fully powered-up, and plug your non-battery-powered electronics into power strips that you can turn off when not in use.
You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but Kimmich says, “You’d be surprised how often people complain about drafts and heat leakages in the winter and you visit and there’s open windows—cords for Christmas lights running out the window or bad seals. In summer, if the accordion wings around the AC don’t fit properly, you might as well put it in the driveway. You’re cooling the outdoors.”