Energy Conservation Measures for Home Twenty-two (22) low cost or no-cost energy conservation measures

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1 Energy Conservation Measures for Home Twenty-two (22) low cost or no-cost energy conservation measures County Energy Manager, Jeff Sheckels As I began the energy conservation endeavor within Charles County I remained focused on the fact that County facilities were my primary target of interest in reducing the energy consumption and costs of utility expenditures for Charles County Government. I however have extended and re-evaluated my thoughts in respect of County employees whom own, or are renting homes, in and or around the County. This re-focus per se is attributed to the present economy and the fact that we need to remain focused on reducing carbon footprints within our areas of residence, to include conservation of local and vital energy resources, as well the utility costs we each must pay for our utility services that are rendered at our homes. Energy Conservation measures can both be implemented at both the workplace and at home, while ultimately achieving the aforementioned individual demand and responsibilities we are challenged with regularly. I have been asked multiple times what homeowners and residential areas could do to make a difference in energy consumption, and reduction in the consumer s costs. I responded that typically the following 22 measures can assist homeowners in continued cost avoidance, as well in reduction in excessive energy usage, which is in most cases caused by wasteful behaviors, and practices. For each of your conveniences I have included 22 measures and realized that I had many more. To be included within the future web pages, I will include and keep each of you posted on other measures that can assist in achieving and delivering residential measures regarding energy conservation at your residences. For the interim I will concentrate on these first 22 measures. Note: Please feel free to contact me, and or research the many web-sites we have included within our web page to further assist in achieving your residential reduction goals, regarding energy and costs. WATER CONSERVATION Water is yours for the asking 24 hours a day. All you have to do is turn on a faucet. However, it doesn t magically come from nowhere. It is a carefully processed valuable resource that shouldn t be wasted. Besides, you re paying for every drop whether it s used or wasted. The following tips will help conserve water as well as save you money. Toilets Every time a toilet is flushed, about 7 gallons of water goes into the sewer. Toilets should not be used as a trash can to flush away tissues, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, spiders, diapers or anything else that ought to go in a waste basket or garbage can. At 7 gallons per flush, this is a phenomenal waste of water.

2 Showers Most toilets use more water than is really necessary and work just as well with less. You can use a plastic soap or laundry bottle to displace some of the water. Fill a few with water to weight them and put them in the tank. Caution, don t put the bottles where they will jam the flushing mechanism, and be sure you don t displace so much water that you have to double flush. Toilets are notorious for their hidden leaks. They can waste hundreds of gallons a day if not fixed. People used to think showers were less wasteful than tub baths, period. That failed to take into consideration the fact that many of us spend 10 or 20 minutes or more in the shower. Since most showers pour out between 5 and 10 gallons per minute, that can add up in a hurry. Shaving and Tooth brushing Don t leave the water running. Run as much as you need, then turn off the tap until you need some more. Water running unused goes straight down the drain. It adds up to a whale of a lot of wasted water. Kitchen Automatic dishwashers claim the most water in kitchens, about 15 gallons per run. The secret here is to make sure the washer is fully loaded before you turn it on. It takes the same amount of water whether it is full or just has a few cups. Also, don t let the faucet run when you scrub vegetables or prepare other foods. Put a stopper in the sink instead. Leaks A little leak loses lots! Just a slow drip can add up to 15 or 20 gallons a day. Water Saving Devices Many different kinds of water saving devices and fixtures are on the market, ranging from special reduced flow shower heads to water thrifty shallow trap toilets. See a good plumbing supply or hardware store for advice, particularly when it s time to replace an old fixture in the house. Try to get one that doesn t use as much water. Watering Your Lawn You don t have to let your lawn turn brown to conserve water. Don t over water. Water that is running down the street gutters is doing your lawn no good. Water slowly so it can seep in. Also, don t water on a schedule; water only when the lawn looks like it needs it. Washing the Car Your garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours. Use a bucket for soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing. Running water in the driveway won t get the car cleaner.

3 Air Conditioning Air conditioning your house can be the most expensive part of your utility bill in the summer months. This page will provide some practical suggestions for selecting an air conditioner, using it properly, and allowing it to do its job more easily to reduce your home cooling bills. Selecting a Replacement Air Conditioner A unit that is too small won t keep you cool enough. One that is too large will cool too quickly and provide insufficient dehumidification, giving a cold clammy feeling. To be sure you select the proper size unit, have your dealer estimate your cooling load before you buy. Use your air conditioner wisely Put your window air conditioner where it will provide the best air distribution. This lets it do its job more easily, using less energy. Don t bury the unit in shrubbery or cover it with draperies while it is operating. Clean the filter regularly, at least once a month. Washing or vacuuming the filter regularly will keep your home cleaner and will allow a free flow of air through the unit, allowing it to operate at top efficiency. Whenever possible, run the fan without using the cooling portion of your unit. Just as insulation saves on your heating bill by keeping warmth in, good insulation also pays summer dividends by keeping heat out. The use of blinds, shades, or awnings on your windows to keep direct sunlight out of the house can also help reduce operating costs. The use of light colored paints and roofing materials shields your home from heat. Ventilation cuts costs You can use fans and other ventilation devices to keep cool in the summer economically. A window fan pushing hot air out of one side of your home, but drawing cooler air from the shady side, is particularly refreshing. Control humidity to improve comfort Save your moisture producing activities, such as showering and laundry, for cool early mornings or late evenings. If possible, use a bathroom exhaust fan. Try to find the source of any humidity problem. If water is leaking through walls or floor, a dehumidifier probably won t handle moisture removal. Where possible, eliminate sources of moisture and keep doors and windows closed. Heat and moisture accumulate in your attic. A powered attic ventilator will exhaust both, keeping your house cooler and avoiding moisture damage. Finally, if bathroom or kitchen moisture is coming into the room, release the moisture through windows in the bathroom and kitchen, preferably with an exhaust fan.

4 Energy Saving Tips Remember, these tips not only conserve energy, they save money? Compact Florescent light Bulb s (CFL s) Compact Florescent Lights use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light and last up to 10 times longer. They also generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. Insulation Trees To get the most energy savings, replace bulbs where lights are on the most, such as your family and living room, kitchen, dining room and porch. Some CFL s have trouble operating in enclosed fixtures. Check the CFL s packaging for any restrictions on use. A home with inadequate insulation can lose up to 40% of cool air, or 60% of heat in the winter. The average year old home probably needs about 5-6 inches of additional insulation. An attic radiant barrier, usually made of aluminum foil bonded to paper, helps block heat flow through the roof into the house during summer. This can reduce annual energy bills by 3-8%. Correctly positioned shade trees can reduce indoor home temperatures by up to 20 degrees and reduce cooling costs by up to 40%. Well shaded neighborhoods stay 3-6 degrees cooler than those without trees. Windows and Doors Storm windows and doors can reduce the amount of cooling or heating lost by 50%. Keep blinds and drapes closed to keep your house cooler. Solar screens on windows can block out 60-70% of sunlight and heat. Hot Water Heater Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees. Wrapping your hot water heater with an insulation blanket can reduce its energy use by 10-15%. Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods. Refrigerator and Freezer The refrigerator temperature should be degrees and the freezer should be 0-5 degrees. Settings that are too low cause refrigerators and freezers to run more than needed and can increase energy use by as much as 25%

5 Cooking Make sure the doors seal properly. Defrost freezer before the frost exceeds a quarter inch think. Greater frost buildup makes the freezer work harder. Let foods cool before placing them in the refrigerator, unless the recipe specifies otherwise. Warm food will cause the refrigerator to run more. Freezers work better fully loaded. Oven temperature drops by degrees every time you open the oven door. Microwave ovens use up to 70% less energy. Try to schedule your cooking time in the morning so that the kitchen heat does not contribute as much to the air conditioning use. If possible, shut the kitchen off from the rest of your home while cooking, and turn on the stove exhaust to help take the heat out of the kitchen. Clothes Dryer Dry loads of clothes back to back to take advantage of stored heat. Clean the filter after every load to improve its efficiency. Close the door to the room the dryer is located in to keep it from heating up the rest of the house during cooling season. During heating season leave door open to allow more heat throughout the home.

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