by Living Green
by Ken Bujold
These days, it seems everyone’s thinking green. The urge to conserve is upon us. Where once
eco-friendly was all about saving the planet, today,
it’s just as likely to be about leaving a little more green
in your jeans and finding a way to put a bite into
soaring energy costs.
Thankfully, energy-proofing your home need not
be an expensive proposition. With a few simple steps,
it’s possible to lower your monthly utility bills and
save the planet too—a win-win if there ever was one.
Keep an eye on the thermostat
Setting the temperature just a few degrees higher
in the summer, or lower during the winter, will
significantly reduce your energy usage. With a programmable thermostat, you can lessen the variance
in temperature between the interior and exterior of
your home, as well as decrease your demands on the
grid during those times when you are not at home.
Ceiling fans are a very efficient means of circulating air throughout the house and reducing
your need for wallet draining central air. During
the summer, they should be set to spin counterclockwise, to draw the hot air upwards. Simply
reverse the spin through the winter. In addition, a
rotating fan will let you cool rooms in use, allowing
you to turn off the A/C in those parts of the house
you’re not occupying. Potential savings total $5 to $10
Upgrade the appliances
Obviously, few of us can afford to replace all of our
appliances, but when you do find yourself in need of a new
fridge or decide it’s time to retire the old washer-dryer,
taking the time to do your homework and selecting the most energy-efficient appliance your budget
will allow is a must. While more expensive, ENERGY
STAR labelled appliances will earn you back in savings
the extra bit you might pay out when purchasing
them. For an average household, energy savings should
be about 30 percent annually.
Tame the surge
Studies have showed that large LCD and plasma
TVs can consume up to 400 watts of energy when in
use, and even when idle will continue to draw a small
amount of power.
ISTOCKPHOTO/ THINKS TOCK; ©IS TOCKPHOTO.COM/BOB THOMAS; © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/SCOT T LEIGH