Green your home

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Tips for greening your home:

When you use energy more efficiently, you do a lot of things. You reduce the demand on the region's electrical grid. You're more comfortable. You could pay less for electricity, natural gas and gas for your car. You can even help reduce pollution and save the environment.

Exterior

  • Storm windows can reduce the heat lost by single-paned windows by 20-50 percent during the winter. Temporarily, you can always install plastic sheeting on the outside.
  • Seal and weatherstrip your windows and doors to ensure that heat or air conditioning does not escape through leaks to the outdoors.
  • Trees that lose their leaves in the fall give protection from the summer sun and let light in during the winter. Plant evergreen trees on the north side of your house to stop the wind in the winter.
  • Your central air conditioning unit should be in the shade.

Interior

  • During hot months keep window coverings closed. In winter, let the sun in.
  • In summer use fans whenever possible instead of AC or raise the thermostat temperature a few degrees and use fans to make up the difference.
  • Replace your 5 most used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs; they use two-thirds less energy and last up to ten times longer.
  • Turn lights off when not in use. Use dimmers, timers, and motion sensors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Close vents and doors of unused rooms. Only heat or cool rooms you're using.
  • In winter, turn the thermostat down or off at night. If needed, use an electric blanket to keep warm. They use about as much energy as a lightbulb and you can save up to 10% on your heating bills.
  • Keep the lids on pots when cooking; it reduces cooking time and energy use.
  • Do only full loads in the clothes and dishwasher (don't overload). Air dry whenever possible. Use cold water for laundry. Use the moisture sensor setting on your clothes dryer and cut energy use by 15%.
  • Cooking with a microwave oven costs less than one quarter of what it costs to use your stove or conventional oven.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is the right size for your needs to avoid wasting energy by cooling nothing. Check your refrigerator seal and replace if necessary. Keep freezers and refrigerators full, using ice or water/fluids.
  • Energy Star appliances are often available for the same cost as less efficient models and will pay for themselves in energy and cost savings.
  • If you have fluorescent lighting fixtures with multiple bulbs you may have enough light with only one or two. Keep the fixtures and bulbs clean and replace yellowed or hazy diffusers.
  • Insulate hot water tanks and pipes. If they feel warm to the touch then energy is being wasted. . Hot water heaters are often preset to 140° but 120° is satisfactory for most uses. A 10° reduction in hot water temperature can reduce energy consumption by up to 5 percent.
  • Replace furnace and air conditioner filters once a month during the heating/cooling season.
  • Turning on-and-off computers, TVs, DVD players, printers etc. from the power strip can save $70 or more a year. Many of these appliances still use energy even when they're in "sleep" or "standby" mode.
  • Use foam gaskets behind light switch and outlet plates to avoid air leakage.

Sources

"ENERGY SAVERS: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home." U.S. Department of Energy:www.eere.energy.gov/consumers/tips/

Alliance to Save Energy: www.ase.org/powersmart

www.thewattspot.com/