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Simple Electricity Saving Tips

Can you remember the days (or maybe you’re still experiencing them!) when your parents would get on your case about saving electricity? Electricity saving tips might have seemed unnecessary before the reality of global warming descended on us. In the 21st-century world, however, as small a thing as an incandescent light bulb can be contribute unnecessarily to greenhouse gas emissions.

electricity saving tipsIt didn't matter that the first light bulbs gave up only 5% of their energy as light and the remaining 95% as heat. It does matter to you, however, because whenever you turn on one of your incandescent light bulbs, you are turning on a tiny heating switch. Because of this, the US Department of Energy estimated that in 2007 electrical lighting accounted for a full 11% of home energy bills.

There’s is a hidden cost to using incandescent lights. A brightly lit room can generate enough extra heat in hot weather that you decide to lower your thermostat, burning even more energy to cool your home!

The incandescent light bulb dilemma is just one of many facing people in search of energy saving tips. It's one of the more easily solved ones, because compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are readily available to replace incandescent bulbs. Energy Star estimates that if every US homeowner switched just five incandescent light bulbs to CFLs, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would equate to removing four million cars from the road!

That brings us to the second of our electricity saving tips. If changing your light bulbs will reduce the amount of heat in your home, then you won't need to run your cooling system as much. But you can also make the decision to raise your thermostat in warm weather, and lower it in cold. How big a difference will that make?

The US DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department says that heating and cooling accounts for 43% of your home energy use. Staying warm or cold inside your home, in other words, uses more of your energy budget than anything else you do. Of even more concern, however, is that the efforts of all Americans put together to stay warm or cool emits an estimated 150,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming.

Heating and cooling systems also produce approximately 12% of the sulfur dioxide, and 4% of the nitrogen oxides dumped into the atmosphere each year, which are returned to the Earth as acid rain! By:

  • Moving your thermostat settings down in the winter and up in the summer
  • Opening the drapes or blinds on your south-facing windows in cold weather
  • Closing your drapes or blinds during the day in warm weather
  • Cleaning your furnace filters as necessary and making sure your heat registers aren’t blocked

You can cut your heating and cooling electricity use by 15% to 50%.

The third electricity saving tip is that using energy-efficient appliances, refrigerators, and electronics, and turning them off (even better, unplugging them) when they are idle will make a significant dent in the 27% of your energy usage that inefficient appliances and electronics consume. Energy Star computers, for instance, use only 30% of the electricity of other computers. They automatically enter Sleep Mode when idle, allowing them to remain cool and extending their lives.

The most important of our electricity saving tips is the last. Homeowners can supply their own environmentally-friendly electricity by installing home solar power systems and home wind generators.

If your home’s in an area with sufficient solar and wind resources, installing solar panels or a home wind generator will reduce your carbon footprint. It can also be a source of income if you connect your system to your utility grid. Your utility will buy any extra electricity you produce!

Homeowners in the US will benefit from a 30% Federal tax credit for installing home solar power systems or home wind generators, and may also be eligible for state tax credits and utility rebates.

Begin saving electricity by performing an energy audit. When you know how your home is wasting electricity, you can easily take the proper steps to stop the bleeding. Electricity saving tips are, after all, simple common sense!

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