It is important to understand how to increase energy efficiency in the home to reduce energy consumption, its carbon footprint and improve home technologies’ functionality. Most importantly, upgrading to an energy-efficient home can also lead to huge savings on the monthly electricity bill.
What appliances use the most energy, and what are tips for saving?
Air Conditioning and Heating
Air conditioning and heating often use the most electricity within the household. In the U.S., HVAC systems account for approximately 46% of the average household’s energy consumption. To reduce the amount of air conditioning and heating, several strategies can be used. Using ceiling fans and changing their direction during the seasons (i.e., winter and summer) will keep the house cooler or retain heat. Turning the thermostat up during hot days and lower during cold days will reduce the amount of air conditioning and heating needed. Opening and closing window curtains to release or contain heat, depending on the weather, can assist in temperature control without using any electricity. Replacing air filters in the HVAC system will reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the household. Maintaining the home through dusting and vacuuming will help keep the HVAC running at its highest efficiency. Dressing appropriately for high or low temperatures will help prevent the need for electrical cooling or heating. Any strategy that can be used to retain or dispel heat non-electrically will make a tremendous difference in saving energy.
Appliances that will usually utilize the most energy in the home include refrigerators, washers and dryers, electric ovens and stoves, and dishwashers.
Refrigerator: Try to keep the fridge closed as much as possible. Rearrange the contents for proper airflow. Do not overpack the fridge as it will take more energy to maintain the temperature of its contents. Maintain and clean the refrigerator vents so that it utilizes less energy to draw air from the environment.
Washer and Dryer: Reduce the frequency of use by washing and drying full loads. Reduce the energy to heat by washing with cold water.
Electric Oven and Stove: Reduce the frequency of use by utilizing a microwave or other smaller appliance. Do not use excessive heat for cooking foods (i.e., turning the heat on the highest level to boil water for an extended period of time).
Dishwasher: Reduce the frequency of use by washing full loads. Rinse the dishes before using the dishwasher to prevent the need for a second round of washing. Turn off the heated dry option.
Despite all of these strategies to reduce the amount of energy consumption from major appliances, the best approach is to use newer energy-efficient appliances. Nowadays, there are energy-efficient models for all of the listed significant appliances.
Using energy-efficient appliances could help save hundreds to thousands of kWhs/month, which would minimize energy consumption and the electricity bill while maintaining the household’s performance. Most newer appliances will be marked with an ENERGY STAR certification, which indicates a higher-efficiency model that utilizes considerably less energy than other devices of the same category.
Lighting accounts, on average, for almost a tenth of the average U.S. household’s energy consumption. Older incandescent light bulbs are incredibly inefficient and take an average of 60-80 watts with moderate lighting effectiveness of 800 lumens. Newer LED-light bulbs take up to 7-10W for the same lighting effectiveness and 14-20W for double the lighting effectiveness. Essentially, replacing light bulbs could reduce the energy consumption from lighting to a fraction of what it once was while increasing the household’s overall light output. Aside from replacing lights, remembering to turn off lights, using natural lighting, and utilizing motion sensors are all less effective strategies that are still remarkably effective for reducing the electricity bill and energy consumption.
TV and Media
Small electronics like chargers, computers, TVs, electric tools, video game consoles, etc., account for about 4% of energy consumption in the home. These electronics will typically utilize standby power. Thus, turning off the “standby” setting and shutting down is optimal for reducing energy consumption. Using more energy-efficient electronics that use less power (watts) for the same performance is crucial; such electronics are sometimes ENERGY STAR certified.
System Sizing Tools
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