Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Going green by saving energy

At the more expensive end of the spectrum, we have replacing old inefficient central heating units, badly insulated windows, or fixing the roof. When you look at the cost of these, think long-term. A big investment now might pay for itself with lower bills over a few years, and after that payback period, it is extra money in your pockets. Your house might also become more comfortable and valuable.
With energy prices on a solid upward trend, the return-on-investment period is likely to become shorter and shorter as time goes on. You could even beat the stock market; an energy efficiency home improvement that pays for itself in 5 years is getting the equivalent of 20% returns.
A step down from structural changes to the house is big appliances. We will give specific tips on these in other articles and series, but for now, what you must know is that they represent an important part of your electricity consumption and that in many cases; big gains can be made by consciously selecting efficient models.
If you already have recent "Energy Star" compliant appliances, it is probably not worth upgrading to slightly more efficient models. Just keep in mind that the next time you are shopping, you should look for the most efficient model that fits both your needs and budget.
If you have old appliances, there is a good chance that they are a lot less efficient than modern ones. It is not rare to see two old fridges (the second one used as a "beer" fridge), cramped and non-ergonomic, be replaced by one efficient model that uses between 4 and 6 times less energy than the two dinosaurs.
Finally, you can reduce your electricity consumption by reducing the number of electronic gadgets that keep drawing "phantom power" even when not in use (follow the previous link for more information on that topic), and you can cut down on the amount of electricity that you use for lighting: According to the Department of Energy, 1/4 of all the electricity used in the US is used for lighting. The typical incandescent light bulb could be called a "heat" bulb since about 90% of the electricity is turned into heat.
Better choices are compact fluorescents (CFLs) and LEDs (but they are more expensive for now and it is not quite a mature technology). Also don't forget to turn off the light when you leave the room.
By Shyama Gupta
Intern Green Yatra

1 comment :

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