Green Electrical Tips
How green is your home? The cost of electricity continues to rise, as does its negative impact on the environment. About 44% of the energy produced in America is generated by coal*, which is unsustainable and a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve compiled a list of smart ways to save on your monthly utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint:
- Energy Audit – An energy audit can help determine where your home is losing energy. It can also help correct those problem areas and make your home more energy-efficient. An informal DIY audit can help you identify some areas that need focus – and prepare for a more thorough assessment by a professional. An auditor will perform a room-by-room examination of your home as well as review previous energy bills. Some tests include a thermographic scan, a blower door test, and the PFT air infiltration measurement. A proper energy audit can save the average homeowner 5 to 30 percent on their energy bill. Learn more by checking out this Energy Audit Infographic.
- Green Lighting – One of the easiest ways to improve your home’s energy use is to replace all of your incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLS) or light-emitting diodes (LEDS). Both use less wattage (per unit of light) and have average life spans that are much longer than incandescent bulbs. Where the average life of an incandescent is about 1,200 hours, a CFL lasts an average of 8,000 hours while an LED can last as long as 50,000. CFLs, however, contain anywhere from 1 – 5mg’s of mercury, which is toxic to the environment – and they may not work in extreme temperatures. LEDs, on the other hand, have little drawbacks other than the price, which will ultimately pay for itself in usage. Read more on Green Lighting.
- Unplugging – Electronics that stay plugged in even when not in use should be assessed as some might still be using electricity (this is referred to as “phantom load” among other things). Computers that “sleep” overnight are still pulling electricity. They need to be unplugged when not in use. Gadget power cords should also not be left plugged in once the battery has been charged. A good way to cut down on this waste is to start using a “smart” power strip that cuts off the power when your devices aren’t in use.
- Buy Green – Essential home appliances like your washer/dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher all consume a lot of energy. When you begin shopping for new appliances, do some research and look for the most energy-efficient. Most new appliances come with a yellow EnergyGuide label attached, which outlines the amount of energy that it uses. This makes it easy to comparison shop similar models and make smarter choices. Energy Star is also a good resource when you are looking into buying a new appliance. Energy Star products have been certified to save energy and protect the environment. Look for an Energy Star label or visit their website for information on what to look for when shopping for a specific product.
- Choose Green Power – Look into an electric company that offers “green electricity,” which means that it is produced from sources that do not negatively impact the environment. The cleanest energy sources are those that are referred to as “renewable” because they will never run out. Wind power, solar power, hydropower and geothermal are just a few of the resources available. There are several reputable companies on the market that offer green electricity plans for both business and residential. A quick internet search will yield several sites with renewable energy programs.