One of the biggest expenses on our monthly bills ends up being the electricity bill. Guest contributor Ken shares his tips on how you can curtail this expense and promote energy efficiency.
You don't have to start off with an expensive solar array in your home in order to promote energy efficiency. There are many small things you can do around the house that can help decrease your energy bill while conserving as much as possible. Many of these methods cost very little to implement and can save you a great deal of money. These are projects you can easily do around the house and require very little effort.
1 Bulb Replacement
Although some areas are implementing restrictions on selling incandescent light bulbs, they may still be available to you. By using CFL or LED bulb replacements, you can reduce the amount of power your lighting needs to consume by 85%. While they may seem more expensive, consider the life-span of these bulbs as they can survive for up to 25 years without replacement. Some manufacturers will even honor a 5-year limited warranty, which is still longer than incandescent survival.
2 Cardboard Windows
While it may seem tacky to some, taping thick cardboard to your windows can reduce the amount of heat that is let into your home. In fact, thick material of any kind covering your windows can reduce the ambient temperature of the room. The lower your temperature is during the summer, the less you have to run air conditioning. This is also helpful in the winter in order to maximize heating efficiency.
3 Green Thumbs
Growing a living wall to stretch across your home can help reduce the the ambient temperature in the home as well. This process is as simple as growing a large creeping vine or using special planters across the surface of your home. As plants naturally absorb the heat from sunlight and provide shade, they can reduce the temperature inside of the house considerably.
4 Solar Kits
There are solar kits available that can be used within the home, and all it will cost you is less than $400. You can set up small solar power kits by yourself in order to operate a variety of small electronic devices or those that don't use too much power. For instance, a small solar kit from HarborFreight.com can produce enough power for two CFL light fixtures, USB charging devices, and even low power electronics such as radios and some TVs for less than $200.
5 Completely off
Many home electronics and computers have an ability to "hibernate" in order to save energy when they're not in use. While this hibernation can save power, nothing is comparable to turning the device completely off. Sleep-modes and hibernating devices are still consuming power, which can add up at the end of the year.
6 Summer Cook-out
Have you ever cooked using a solar stove? Instead of burning through power this summer in order to prepare food, utilize a solar stove instead. These devices focus the natural heat of the Sun allowing them to reach temperatures above and beyond what is needed for practical cooking. These are great additions to camping equipment as well.
7 The Great Outdoors
Do as much outside as you can this summer. Your family is cooped up all winter long and there is plenty to do without incorporating game consoles or computers. Set some lawn chairs up and star-gaze with a telescope. Search for extra-terrestrial life while having an outdoor barbeque. It is life, and it will pass you by without giving you a moment’s notice.
There are many ways you can improve the efficiency of your home without investing thousands of dollars. While it would be nice to set up a solar array to provide your home with unlimited amounts of power, your budget may be a reminder that you just don't have the funds to cover the tab. Start small and improve your way of living.