With increased understanding of the impact of global warming, people are becoming increasingly more focused on their personal environmental impact. Whether in an office or at home, energy efficiency is quickly becoming an important standard in assessing conscientious living. Fortunately, energy efficiency at home not only positively impacts the environment, but can also mean significant savings in normative costs associated with energy usage. There are a wide array of steps that you can take to increase energy efficiency and savings. Although these measures require different investments of time and money, all of these will help your home or office better conserve energy, reduce energy costs, and reduce the human impact on global warming.
What uses the most Energy?
According to thousands of energy audits performed by the US Department of Energy, nearly 50 percent of energy usage in US homes comes from heating and cooling systems. Space heating is the biggest energy user at 31 percent, followed by 12 percent for cooling and 12 percent for water heating. One of the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency is by regularly maintaining these systems. Over time, these systems' performance lags, translating to lower energy efficiency. According to DOE Auditors, the most commonly overlooked solution has to do with a home or office's insulation. If windows aren't weather-proofed, or if there is minimal insulation in an attic, money is literally seeping through the cracks! Even a little bit of open air can mean thousands of dollars lost over the course of a year.
The only other double-digit energy user is lighting, which accounts for 11 percent of a home or office's energy usage. Replacing standard bulbs with compact or more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs can lead to major savings in energy usage. Audited families and offices are often surprised by the regularity of lights left on in unattended rooms: awareness of and changes in habits can effect great change in energy consumption.
Alternative Energy for the Average Consumer
The current debate on global warming has led to an emerging market for renewable energy sources. As these markets grow, we will continue to see improvements to the way we power our homes and offices. But even at this early stage, we are already seeing alternative energy sources available and on the market. Whether you're building a new home or simply would like a new project, advancements specifically in solar and wind energy are making it easier than ever to harness the natural energy available. One of the most popular green energy services are energy credits, which allow you to specify where you receive your energy. Check with your city's utility offices to see if wind farm energy is available to you.
Energy Conservation is much broader than a political debate or an ideological movement: it is a fast-growing industry that can revolutionize the way we live. It also has the potential to prompt massive savings for years to come to businesses and households alike. Taking small steps now to improve energy efficiency will not only bring significant energy savings, but also can open up your family or business to an emerging industry that will positively impact our world.