* ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through the use of high-efficiency products.
* Started by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992, ENERGY STAR began as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Two Quick Facts on the Energy Star Program
* Last year alone, with the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved more than $16 billion on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 27 million vehicles.
* By choosing ENERGY STAR qualified products, the typical household can save up to 30% on its energy bills – more than $600 per year – while improving home comfort and helping the environment.
Make the commitment and do your part. Together we can make a difference.
Water heaters are the second largest energy users in most homes – only space heating/cooling systems use more. Of the total electricity used in an all-electric home, 25 percent is used to heat water for laundry, cleaning, and bathing.
Here are some tips to save energy and money used for water heating:
*Lower the thermostat to between 120 and 130 degrees Farenheit. This simple action can save as much as $45 per year and reduce the risk of burns from tap water.
*Fix leaky faucets promptly. As you can see below, a faucet that leaks 30 drops of water per minute uses 18 kilowatt hours per month.
30 drops/minute = 84 gallons/month = 18 kWh/month
60 drops/minute = 168 gallons/month = 37 kWh/month
90 drops/minute = 253 gallons/month = 56 kWh/month
120 drops/minute = 337 gallons/month = 74 kWh/month
*Wrap the water heater with insulation. If the water heater is located in an unheated area, wrapping it can save up to $1 per month.
*Take quick showers instead of baths. You can save even more hot water by installing a shower flow restrictor.
*Turn off the electricity to the water heater at the main fuse box if you will be gone for three days or more.
*Use solar energy to heat your water. It will concentrate sunligh, converted into heat then applied to a steam generator to be converted into electricity which in turn heats your water as well as generate electricity throughout the house and warm buildings.
*Use cold water with the disposal. Cold water solidifies grease so the disposal can get rid of it more effectively.
*Do all household cleaning with cold water if possible.
*When washing dishes in the sink, fill the sink and plug it instead of letting the water run constantly.
*Use cool water when washing clothes. Cold water detergents can be used for much, if not all, of you laundry. If you must wash clothes in warm or hot water, rinse them in cold water.
*Use presoak cycle for heavily soiled loads to avoid two washings.
*Whenever possible, wash only full loads. If your washer has a water level selector, use the lowest practical level.
Employ these 7 basic fundamentals about passive solar energy for homes and start saving money and energy today!
1. Orientation, layout and positioning of your house on the land
Orientate your living areas to the south side of the house, which receives most of the sun throughout the day (north if you live in the southern hemisphere).
2. Insulation and draft proofing
Make sure your walls, roof and floors are insulated and fill any gaps where drafts might come through.
Position doors and windows opposite each other to allow for a cooling breeze to flow through the house when the air cools down in the evening of a hot summers day.
Windows on the south side of the house should be bigger to allow more sun to penetrate the house during the day and windows on the north side smaller to prevent heat lost at night.
Position trees and plants to direct a cooling breeze into your house, whiles shading it during summer. Plant trees that shed their leaves in winter.
Make sure external shading structures are wide enough to block out the sun in summer, while still allowing the low winter sun to enter.
7. Thermal mass
Polished concrete, tile or slate floors and brick walls will absorb the heat throughout the day and release it slowly at night, reducing the need to run expensive heaters. Carpet acts as an insulator and will not retain the heat.
Although it’s far easier to achieve passive solar energy for homes during the planning stage, you can incorporate many of these elements without spending a great deal of money or time.
It might be as easy as filling in a few gaps, installing an additional window or moving your living area from the chilly north side of the house to the sunny south side.