Earth Day – E is for Efficiency
This year we decided to celebrate Earth Day with a series of blog posts about how we can help change things environmentally for the better. Whether updating the efficiency of electrical devices in our homes, lessening waste or just paying more attention to recycling, our actions can make a difference!
In this first blog post, we’re discussing EFFICIENCY!
One of the biggest ways to improve energy efficiency is to use less energy overall. Now it may not be totally realistic for everyone to live off-the-grid, getting their energy from home-built solar panel systems. There are a lot of people who do this and it’s absolutely awesome! But if you’re not quite at that level yet, there are other things you can do right now to save energy.
What does saving electricity have to do with Earth Day? Everything! The majority of the electricity generated by your utility company is made when fossil fuels are burned and converted to electrical current. Those fossil fuels are non-renewable and emit dangerous and harmful carbon gases that destroy the earth’s atmosphere and pollute the environment. So by using less energy, you are doing your part to reduce the amount of fossil fuels that have to be burned up to power your home. Cool, right?
Look around your home or office. Do you see a bunch of electronics and electrical devices that are plugged in, even though you’re not using them? Is there a light on in a room you’re not currently sitting in? Or a porch light that stays on even when it’s broad daylight outside?
Simple adjustments can handle these things. Obviously, some awareness and care is key, like making sure you turn off a ceiling fan or a light when you leave the room. Ceiling fans left running all day for a month can add up to a lot of wasted energy and wasted money, too!
Plugging electronic devices in to power strips that you can easily switch off in groups when they’re not in use makes it easy to reduce phantom power and save even more. Adding convenience into the mix makes it more likely that you can actually keep up with the task of powering down unused devices, especially if you have a larger home or many devices to take care of.
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Making Your Home More Efficient
Ok, so let’s say you’re already on top of energy waste in your home as much as possible. How can you take it to the next level?
Right now there are tons of things on the market designed to make energy efficiency more doable for the average busy person. Let’s face it, at the end of a long day of work checking that your thermostat is properly set and running at the most efficient temperature is probably not the first thing on your mind. Same goes for water heater settings and countless others.
So once again, we come to convenience. Luckily, the products out there that are geared toward saving energy are, in the main, designed with that in mind. Here are a few that you can look into for your home that will make it a breeze to live more efficiently.
· Smart, Programmable Thermostats – These are thermostats that you install in your home and they then work to control the temperature according to your habits and preferences, but also so that your air conditioner/heater is running in the most efficient way. Most of them come with apps for your smart phone or laptop so that you can monitor your energy savings and even control the system when you’re not at home.
· Smart power strips – These devices make it so that when an electrical or electronic device is no longer in use, the power supply to that item is automatically cut off! This saves on phantom power and potential waste and you don’t even have to think about it!
· Power Factor Correction Devices – These are systems that install to the electrical panel in your home (or at the source of a particularly energy-hungry device like a Central A/C, pool pump or refrigerator) and correct line-loss, which is the loss of electricity when it has to travel through wires to reach its destination. These are particularly helpful if you’re using older model appliances that were designed or manufactured prior to the year 2000 or where your home is set up so that the electrical panel is very far away from your devices. (More distance for the electrical current to travel = more loss.) This one is our specialty and we offer one of the highest-rated PFCs on the market.
· Updated, Efficient Appliances – We covered this more in depth in another blog post, but when we talk about efficient appliances, we mean newer model refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters and the like, that have been designed within the last 15 or so years. Earlier models weren’t as efficient because technological advances that promote energy efficiency hadn’t necessarily been integrated into everyday appliances. Updating these can save you hundreds per year on electric bills which translates to saved energy!
Earth Day is really a day to raise awareness about how our actions affect the planet and come together to work out solutions to make sure that we are really taking care of it. Being more efficient about the way we use electricity has everything to do with it. Stay tuned for the rest of our Earth Day blog post series and let’s get started doing our part to protect our planet!