We use lots of energy at home, and often it is invisible to us. There are plenty of savings opportunities.
The Big Picture
Energy use in the home (gas and oil for heating, electricity for air conditioning, lighting, and appliances) is about 14% of the nation’s total energy usage. Individual homes vary considerably in their energy bills, even in the same neighborhood. This is because home energy use is driven by specific features of each house (square footage, age, and so on) as well as the behaviors of their occupants (use of electronics, number of appliances, how the lights are used, and so on.)
The “bad news” is that some 50% of the energy delivered to the home is wasted through poorly constructed homes, aging heating systems, older water heaters and more. The good news is that this waste can be reduced through home improvements, new appliances, and energy saving behaviors.
1. Solar can put cash in your pocket. Solar prices are dropping quickly, and – though many homeowners don’t realize it – they could put money in their pocket each month by installing solar. Solar systems are typically sized to cover 70%of a home’s electricity use, and it gets easier each year to finance or lease a solar system.
2. Lighting and electronics use 20 – 25% of a home’s electricity. These are two areas where there are simple and no-cost ways to save energy.
3. A modern refrigerator uses less energy than a light bulb. Rapid technology improvements have reduced refrigerator energy use by more than 50% in the past 15 years. Many modern fridges use 600 kWh per year, less than a 100-wattlight bulb left on 24/7 for a year, which is 876 kWh.
ENERGY SAVINGS TIPS
Energy-saving behaviors can have a big impact. Much of the energy used in the home comes from our habits: lights left on, electronics plugged in, outdoor lights burning during the day, and so on.
Buy a new washing machine. In almost every region of the country, a new washing machine pays for itself in under 2 years. Modern washing machines use less energy, less water, and also spin the clothes so that much less dryer time is needed as well.
Simple shading solutions work. No need to think about fancy and expensive ways to stay cool in the summer. Simply plant some trees or bushes, put up a shade screen or awning, or even just draw the curtains. Protect the sunny side of your house from the direct light, and watch your electricity bill go down.