How ev­ery­day peo­ple can cut en­ergy con­sump­tion

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Cur­tail­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion is a great way for peo­ple to pro­tect the planet’s nat­u­ral re­sources and save money at the same time.

Part of the dif­fi­culty with re­gard to re­duc­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion is that en­ergy plays such a big role in our lives. Smart­phones and tablets have be­come must-have items, and these items, though not nec­es­sar­ily big con­sumers of en­ergy, must be plugged in and charged. But in­di­vid­u­als won’t have to un­plug from their lives to re­duce their en­ergy con­sump­tion. In fact, there are sev­eral easy, non-in­va­sive ways for ev­ery­day peo­ple to re­duce their en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Start with your win­dows. The win­dows in a home can help home­own­ers and apart­ment dwellers re­duce their heat­ing and cool­ing costs. On cold days, pull back cur­tains so the nat­u­ral sun­light can come in and warm the house, re­duc­ing the need to turn up the tem­per­a­ture on the ther­mo­stat. When the weather out­side is es­pe­cially warm, hang black­out cur­tains to pre­vent the hot sun from warm­ing rooms and in­creas­ing the need for air con­di­tion­ing. In ad­di­tion, ad­dress any leaks around win­dows to en­sure hot and cold air is not escaping and contributing to ex­ces­sive en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Main­tain ap­pli­ances and re­place older ones. While re­duc­ing re­liance on en­ergy-thirsty ap­pli­ances is a great way to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion, no one needs to throw away their re­frig­er­a­tors. In­stead, main­tain ap­pli­ances so they are not forced to work harder, and thereby con­sume more en­ergy, to func­tion. Rou­tinely clean the fil­ters on win­dow air con­di­tion­ers, re­plac­ing them if they’re worn down. In ad­di­tion, have HVAC units ser­viced an­nu­ally to en­sure they’re op­er­at­ing at peak ca­pac­ity. Re­place older ap­pli­ances, in­clud­ing re­frig­er­a­tors, that are no longer ef­fec­tive.

In­stall a low-flow shower head. The U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy rec­om­mends that eco-con­scious con­sumers look­ing to re­duce their en­ergy con­sump­tion in­stall low-flow shower heads with flow rates less than 2.5 gal­lons per minute. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for peo­ple liv­ing in homes with dated fix­tures. Wa­ter fix­tures in­stalled be­fore 1992 might have flow rates as high as 5.5 gal­lons per minute, which is both waste­ful and costly. Test the flow of a shower head by plac­ing a one-gal­lon bucket be­neath a shower head run­ning at the pres­sure you nor­mally use. If the bucket fills up in less than 20 sec­onds, in­stall a low-flow shower head.

In­stall ceil­ing fans. Ceil­ing fans can be in­stalled to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion in both sum­mer and win­ter. In sum­mer, ceil­ing fans can make home in­te­ri­ors more com­fort­able by cir­cu­lat­ing air around a room. That cir­cu­la­tion can make rooms feel cooler, pro­vid­ing the same ben­e­fit of an air con­di­tioner while con­sum­ing con­sid­er­ably less en­ergy. In win­ter, re­verse the ro­ta­tion of ceil­ing fans so they cir­cu­late warm air and re­duce re­liance on heat­ing sys­tems.

Re­duc­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion does not re­quire sub­stan­tial sac­ri­fice, but it can pro­duce sub­stan­tial sav­ings and ben­e­fit the planet in myr­iad ways.

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