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Energy conservation: How to save energy, electricity, and water in your home

Living Green can save you money, and not just in obvious ways

By understanding what you spend and what you save through your green lifestyle you can help get spending under control while positively impacting the environment. Americans send more than 1 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, or about a fifth of the nation’s total emissions. Our homes and buildings (and the energy we use living in them) account for the largest portion of that carbon footprint and transportation accounts for the second. The individual lifestyle savings of one family can dramatically add-up in environmental (and dollar savings) as a community. If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL–or far better, an LED–it would be the equivalent of removing one million cars from the road. If just 1 in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, the benefit would be the same as planting 1.7 million acres of trees.

North American spend a lot on heating their homes

Our largest expense in most American homes is heating according to the US Dept. of Energy. That’s a lot relative to the rest of the world according to Shrink that footprint.

56% of your total home energy costs are spent heating and cooling the home. 20% is used to power appliances and electronics (up to 75% of this is for electronics that are turned OFF). 14 to 25% is from water heating. Central air-conditioning (186 billion kWh or 16% of total electricity usage) followed by refrigerators (156 billion kWh) are the biggest electricity hogs. Your TV is the hog among electronic items (33 billion kWh).

Action Annual Savings
Stop spending money for your electronics to be off. (Standby power accounts for as much as 20% of home energy use).  Average electricity bill in IL is $80/month (2009 figures). Over $100
Consumer reports says that buying CFLs is one of the top ten best ways to save energy dollars. Each bulb must save at least $30 over its life.  Even with CFLS, you will save money by turning off lights when you leave a room.  Get motion sensors for outdoor lights. Replace your homes bulbs with CFLS. 10 bulbs will save you $133 a year.  Motion sensor $23/light.
Get an automatic thermostat control. For each 1º you turn it down and leave for 8 hours, you can save 1% off total bill. (If you use a boiler, balance the system with remote sensor controls or get individual thermostat valves on radiators).

Use the same strategy for your AC. Turn off the AC when you aren’t home, it is more efficient to cool down a house than to keep it cool when you are away. For each 1º below 78º, you increase energy use by 3-4%. (Don’t go below 80º.) Replace your AC filter monthly.  Turn down AC by 4º and use fans and the temperature will feel the same. Tips at

$200 or more.

$20-$200 or more.

Stop using hot water to wash your clothes Over $200.
Use your dryer less.

Other tips: Clean the lint filter EVERY time, dry heavy items like towels and jeans separately from lighter items, don’t cook clothes by over-drying.

Each load you forego will save 35¢. Hang dry one load a week and save $18/ year.
That old fridge in the basement is probably costing you about $140/year to run. Unplug it. If you have a post-2001 fridge in your kitchen it costs $40-$50/year. The ice-maker costs you about  $10/year to use, turn it off.  Turn off anti-sweat feature, keep fridge at 36 to 40ºF and freezer 0 to 5º F, don’t put in hot foods, wrap all foods, and leave a couple inches around fridge. $15 to 160 or more.
Put your hot water heater to 123º (10º saves up to 5% in energy costs). Insulate your hot water tank. $40.
Reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30% through insulation and air sealing. Plug air leaks with caulking or weather stripping. Get insulated outlet covers for outside walls. Get an energy audit of your home. (Federal tax credit of 10% on insulating your home, so you can save up to $500 on costs.)

Maintain your heating system (drain trapped water in radiators, replace furnace filters every two months, and keep your wood stove cleaned and tuned).

Savings will vary depending on current insulation and amount done: $200.

By reducing energy use, you could save:



Saving Water Resources

The average household pays $500 for sewer and water a year and up to 25% of energy costs are used to heat water.

Buy water aerators for your faucets and low-flow shower heads. $89
Turn off the water when you brush your teeth $5
Replace your washer when it wears out with a front loader $93
The dishwasher costs between $60 to $100/year to run, most of that cost is from heating water. Save by buying an energy star model when buying new, only running full loads, skip the extra rinse and the heat dry options and chose energy saving options if available, and don’t pre-rinse. $30
Disconnect your downspouts and add a rain-barrel, it will protect the region’s water and will save you irrigation costs. $8

By conserving water, you could save: :



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