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75 Energy Conserving Ideas

One of the aspects that sometimes gets overlooked when considering renewable energy options, is reducing the energy you consume. Before you spend a dime on solar, wind or hydro power, it is imperative that you look at your current household environment and do things to conserve energy. It is much less expensive to conserve energy and buy a smaller RE system than to buy a RE system that meets the needs of an average home. This should not be looked upon lightly. You are going to have to make some sacrifices in order to conserve and it will change your life. Here are some ideas to get you started before investing in RE:

  1. Think small vs. big. If you are living in a large house and it's only you and your significant other, think about moving to smaller house.
  2. If you live in an older energy guzzling house, consider renovating the house. It may save you money in the long run.
  3. Check your house for air infiltration leaks and seal up those holes.
  4. Add enough insulation in your attic to increase the R value to at least R40.
  5. Replace incandescent bulbs in your house with compact florescent bulbs - especially those lights that get used the most.
  6. Buy switchable outlet strips and shut off all phantom voltages in your house. You would be amazed at how much stuff is using electricity even when it's off. Start with those transformers that run most low end electronic devices - the black boxes currently plugged into your wall or outlet strips. Don't forget TV, stereos and VCRs too.
  7. Think about replacing your top-end washing machine with a front loader that uses less water and electricity to wash a load of clothes.
  8. Consider drying your clothes on a clothes line instead of using a dryer.
  9. Don't take baths, take showers and use a low flow shower head.
  10. While you are taking that shower, only turn the water on to wet and rinse yourself.
  11. Use window quilts or shutters over your windows to keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer.
  12. Use a smart thermostat to lower your heat while your away from the house or asleep.
  13. Dress warmer and lower the thermostat.
  14. Consider replacing your refrigerator with a smaller, higher efficiency model.
  15. Install a cistern and harvest rainwater. Rainwater is a naturally soft water that can be used for washing and even drinking if it is UV filtered.
  16. Use a whole house fan to cool the house in the summer instead of an air conditioner.
  17. Use a pressure cooker whenever possible to cook food. Energy consumption is 50% to 70% less using a pressure cooker.
  18. Replace your toilet with a low water usage model.
  19. Use reflectors around light bulbs to increase their light output.
  20. Reduce viewing TV or do without completely.
  21. Use cold water to wash clothes whenever possible.
  22. Cool hot foods before refrigerating.
  23. Open the refrigerator door as little as possible.
  24. Add an insulation jacket to your hot water heater tank.
  25. Reduce your domestic hot water temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. This will save you over 18%.
  26. Turn off lights in rooms that are not being used.
  27. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  28. Consider using 4-watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
  29. Put extra blankets on the bed, or use flannel sheets during winter months.
  30. When cooking, use pans with covers. Water will boil faster and you can use a lower setting.
  31. Don't peek into the oven. Each time you open the door, the temperature will drop 25 to 50 degrees.
  32. When shaving or washing up, fill up the sink halfway instead of letting the water run.
  33. Wrap your water heater and hot water pipes with insulation to help keep heated water hot.
  34. Electric pumps are used to pump water either from wells or municipal systems. Cutting down on water waste cuts down on power waste.
  35. Always put a full load of clothes in the washer.
  36. Keep the dryer lint screen and exhaust hose clean. Lint impedes the flow of air and lengthens drying time.
  37. Don't overwash clothes. A 10-minute cycle is usually enough for even very soiled clothes.
  38. Vacuum or dust the back and bottom of the refrigerator regularly to keep the cooling coils free from dust.
  39. Cover all foods because they give off moisture, making your refrigerator use more energy.
  40. Set your refrigerator thermostat at 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
  41. Keep the freezer as full as possible for greatest efficiency. Fill up empty space with plastic jugs of water. However, do not overcrowd. Place items in a manner that allows air to circulate.
  42. Use non-electric carpet sweepers and brooms instead of vacuum cleaners.
  43. When it comes time to replace the hot water tank, consider purchasing a tankless (on demand) hot water heater.
  44. Turn off PCs when not being used.
  45. Caulk around windows to prevent air infiltration.
  46. Install foam gaskets and plastic plugs in all electrical outlets and switches on outside walls.
  47. Install fences, hedges and trees as energy saving windbreaks on the northwest side of your home.
  48. Install a motion sensor light near the entrance of your home instead of leaving the outside light on.
  49. Ventilate your attic to minimize high heat gains in the summer and moisture damage in the winter.
  50. Use a root cellar to store foods instead of a refrigerator
  51. Use a solar powered dehydrator to dry and preserve foods.
  52. Use a corded telephone instead of cordless telephone.
  53. Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator before cooking. Thawed food cooks faster and uses less energy.
  54. Be sure that the seal around the refrigerator door is intact to keep warm air out. Frost appears quickly when a unit is not sealed properly and leaks air.
  55. Install an air duct in your fireplace which allows outside air to be the source of air for combustion.
  56. An uninsulated drape can cut window heat loss by one-third. An insulated drape can reduce it by 50 percent.
  57. Remove your clothing promptly from the dryer and hang carefully. Many items will require no ironing.
  58. Use an old satellite dish as a reflector to cook food using the sun's heat.
  59. Ductwork which runs through cool or unheated areas is taped, insulated, and covered with an air/vapor barrier. (Heating & Cooling Systems)
  60. All exterior basement walls have more than 2" of insulation (minimum R-value of R-6 to R-10), running the full height, and there is a sealed air/vapor barrier in place on the warm side of the insulation (facing the room).
  61. Baseboards are caulked either from behind the trim work or in front where the trim meets the wall and floor.
  62. Exterior doors are weather-stripped on the sides, and bottom.
  63. Don't buy a side by side refrigerator Side-by-side models use at least 20% more electricity than models with the freezer on top.
  64. If you must use a freezer to store food, use a chest freezer. Chest freezers are typically 10 to 15% more efficient than upright models.
  65. Gas ranges with electric ignition use about 40% less gas per year than gas ranges with pilot lights. If the electricity goes out, they can still be lit with a match.
  66. Don't use heated waterbeds or insulate them. Heating a king-sized waterbed costs about $9 per month on average
  67. Use double or triple pane windows for maximum R value without sacrificing passive solar gain.
  68. Fix any leaky faucets or toilets.
  69. Consider purchasing a notebook PC rather than a desktop model. Notebooks don't use as much power.
  70. Install ceiling fans help cool you down. Air movement created by a fan can make a room seem cooler by four degrees or more.
  71. House plants add humidity to a house in the winter. This makes you feel warmer at a lower temperature.
  72. Add thermal mass to your house. Ceramic floor tile, brick partition walls and stone fireplaces help keep your indoor temperature constant.
  73. Got leaky windows? Put a plastic wrap on them during the winter.
  74. Reduce the number of electric appliances you use for models that use muscle power. Can openers, vacuum cleaners, garage door openers, lawn mowers, weed whackers, hedge trimmers, etc. can be replaced with non-electric models.
  75. Move your thermostat to an area that is not effected by temperature fluctuations that are caused by draughts, sun or appliances.