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Energy Saving Tips For Laundry Day

large clothesline

It seems like everyone these days is trying to do their best to help out Mother Nature and the environment. The best part about it is that by lessening our carbon footprint, we can save money as well as energy. Because by lowering our energy consumption, we lessen our bills, bit by bit.

One of the easiest ways to lower energy consumption in the home is by finding new ways to save energy on laundry day. Aside from heating and cooling costs, the energy used in doing laundry is some of the highest in the home.

The easiest way to save energy when it comes to doing laundry, is by not washing your clothes in hot water. By using the cold water setting on your washing machine, you can save upwards of 80 percent of the energy that would have to be used to run a hot water wash.

One way to save money and energy that some people do not often think of, is by doing loads back to back. Instead of doing a single load of laundry daily, doing them all in succession. By doing so, you are harnessing the heat that has already built up in the dryer, instead of the dryer needing to reheat each time. This means less effort is exerted by your dryer, and more money saved.

A high quality laundry detergent can also help to save money. These heavier duty detergents are made to use half as much liquid per load, and that means that each bottle will last longer. A bottle that lasts longer means less empty plastic bottles in the landfill. Recycling these empty containers is also great for the environment.

Choosing to air dry your clothes is another way to save on energy costs in the home. During the summer months this can save on multiple fronts. Not only are you not running your dryer, you are lessening the amount of work your air conditioner has to do to keep your house nice and cool. Not only will you be spending less on your bills, air dryed clothes tend to keep that sunny fresh smell longer than clothes that are run through a dryer.

Everyone needs to have clean clothes. It is just a part of life. But there are easy ways to help lower your energy bills and to put a little more money into your pocket on every laundry day. These simple tricks can help make huge gains in your energy usage over time, without having a huge impact on your laundry routines.

How the LEED Rating System Works

leed-ratings

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system helps builders and building managers implement construction and maintenance solutions that are both green and practical. It was developed in 2000 by the United States Green Building Council and has been used in apartment buildings, hotels, office buildings, schools, retail outlets, health care institutions, new construction, renovations to older buildings and much more.

Unlike some rating systems, LEED doesn’t focus on one aspect of building. It encompasses the whole process by looking at items such as:

1. Construction on sustainable sites, such as previously developed land or land that will not interrupt important ecosystems

2. Smarter water use through appliances, fixtures and landscaping that prevent water pollution

3. Use of renewable and clean energy sources

4. Preventing wasteful uses of resources and using sustainable materials

5. Strategies that improve indoor environmental quality

6. Building in locations that are near infrastructure and community resources

7. Educating homeowners and business owners on what tools they can implement to make their structures green

Buildings can become LEED certified through the Green Building Certification Institute. Anyone who is interested must register their projects, and they will be judged on a scale of 100 points: 21 for sustainable sites, 11 for water efficiency, 37 for energy and atmosphere, 14 for materials and resources and 17 for indoor environmental quality.

Buildings that achieve 40 points after being evaluated can become a certified LEED building. Ten bonus points are also awarded for innovation in design and regional priority. Those who choose to participate are said to lower their operating costs, reduce waste in landfills, conserve water and energy and qualify for tax rebates.

efficient thermostat settings

With the current increase in energy costs, I have made sure that I conserve as much energy as possible, and one of the easiest ways to do this it to manage your home heating properly. This is a step that I took a few years ago and I am now experiencing the benefits. This was after a lot of research and even a few consultations from the energy conservation experts. Here are a few of the best tips I learned and applied to the use of my thermostat – little changes that have been quite effective in terms of energy saving.

First, I have made sure that my thermostat is used in the right manner at the right time. That ensures that not too much electricity is consumed. For instance, I do turn down the thermostat by ten degrees when I leave the house and also when I go to bed. In total, my thermostat is normally turned down for a period of 16 hours per day. This has enabled me save 15% of my daily heating bill – that translates into hundreds of dollars a year.

Secondly, I use my fans wisely. It is true that a normal fan is able to dispel all the warm air in a living room within an hour. Basing on this, I have always ensured that my fan does not run for more than one and a half hours.

Finally, I make use of nature’s heater! I have always put the curtains in my home to their maximum use. I make sure that all curtains facing the sun are wide open to allow the sun’s rays in the living room. This helps heat up the home. In the evening, I ensure that curtains are fully closed to trap any warmth from escaping out of the room. It’s a simple step, but you would be amazed at the effectiveness.

A lot of this is about changing habits and developing news ones, but strict application of the above tips can prove quite instrumental in energy saving.

Choosing the Right Digital Thermostat

digital-programmable-thermostat

During the winter season, there is a high demand for digital thermostats among people who want to make their homes more efficient. As a result, quite a number new products have flooded the market. So how do you know which one to buy? It is unfortunate that many of those digital thermostats are of poor quality, which is why you have to be vigilant while looking for a digital thermostat. It involves thorough research to buy any new home technology that will improve the efficiency of your home. This is how I do it.

Among the means I use when looking for the best thermostat is consultation from my friends and associates who use thermostats. This is a very crucial step as it has always given me an upper hand when looking for the best option. For instance, seeking advice from my friends gives me a hint about the best dealers who not only sale high quality thermostats but also offer them at affordable costs. As with most technology, sometimes you end up sacrificing a lot of excellent features in exchange for a lower price tag. Remember, a good thermostat will end up saving you money in the long run, so factor that into your decision making.

Alternatively, I use the internet. Here, it is a matter of visiting the websites of various thermostat dealers. While there, I look at the list of prices. Apart from that, am able to ascertain the quality of the companies’ products by reading the reviews and comments made by their previous clients. By so doing, I get hints about the quality of thermostats of each company. At the end of it all, am able to get the most highly recommended product – this works well for all electronics purchases – as you can usually ascertain from user reviews the general value of a product. Amazon is a great source of product user reviews.

Sometimes I have to move around from one dealer to another as I compare the prices and the quality of digital thermostats. Though hectic, this process is quite effective when looking for the best thermostat.

The bottom line is that it is important for anyone to do thorough research and satisfactory planning prior to choosing a digital thermostat.

Reducing Electricity Use in Your Home

Reduce Electricity Consumption

With a stagnant economy and a difficult job market out there, money is tight for many families this winter. For those of us in this situation, we are constantly looking to eliminate unnecessary expenses and cut costs when it comes to those core items and services that we need to buy. We reduce the number of meals we eat at restaurants, we take public transit more and buy gas less, and we decide to postpone a planned trip or vacation.

But savings can just as easily begin at home, as we’ve noted in two recent articles that deal with heat use and water consumption. Now, let’s take a look at another utilities cost that can add up quickly and that we’d always like to reduce: electricity.

Reducing electricity consumption can also help shrink your carbon footprint and make your home a more eco-friendly place. On this note, here are a few tips for reducing your home’s electricity use this year:

Automate Your House

All of us, at some time or another, have left lights on while we weren’t at home. Sometimes this was done intentionally, so as to make the house appeared occupied while we were off on a trip. Other times it was purely accidental. Either way, we can reduce our electricity use by being able to control our lights from afar, whether simply to turn them off or to make the home appear occupied in the most efficient manner. The best way to do this is by installing a home automation system that can be remotely controlled online. Companies like Vivint security can easily do this in a cost-effective manner.

Use Energy-Efficient Bulbs

Energy-efficient light bulbs may be more expensive when it comes to the initial purchase, but their ability to minimize electricity consumption means that your bill will decrease over the long-term. Ultimately, from both an environmental and cost perspective, energy-efficient bulbs are well worth the effort.

Reduce Heat Consumption

For many of us, our heating costs are tied to our electricity bill. This means that reducing the heat consumption in our home can lower our electricity use and our bill as a result. You can do this by adding insulation to your home, installing a smart thermostat, or simply by turning down the temperature a few degrees in the winter.

Unplug Appliances

Government research shows that 40% of the electricity use by appliances and electronics in the home is consumed while these devices are turned off. Some of the top consumers include fixtures such as computers, printers, televisions, sound systems, and cable boxes. Unplugging these devices while not in use can translate into noticeable savings.

These are just a few of the ways to reduce your home electricity consumption. Doing so is not only great for your bottom line, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and fossil fuel dependency. If you’re looking to make your home more eco-friendly, creating an efficient energy policy is certainly a great place to start.

save water in the home

Water is a limited resource that must be conserved as much as possible. There are many different ways that you can lower the water usage in your home. Consider all of these tips before implementing any of them. It may be worth your time and money to implement all of these tips as they may end up saving you hundreds of dollars.

* Check for Drips and Leaks

Leaks in pipes and drips in the faucet can add up to an incredible amount of water waste. Every faucet or pipe that even drips lightly every few seconds can lose up to 20 gallons of water per day. Even larger leaks can cause hundreds of gallons of water of waste. Fix these leaks yourself or call a plumber to make sure your leaks and drips are stopped.

* Never Use Toilet as Wastebasket

Many people throw used tissues, food items or even cigarette butts into the toilet. They then flush these items down the toilet, wasting five to seven gallons of water with each flush. This is not only wasteful but it can actually cause the toilet to clog, wasting even more water. Avoid this silly practice to save a lot of water every day.

* Limit Shower Length

A long, relaxing shower may feel great but gallons of water are going down the drain with each minute you shower. Try to shower for only 10 to 15 minutes at the most. Enforce this rule in your home with your family and house mates. This may be difficult for some people but try to keep them focused on saving water. At the very least, you can do it yourself if they won’t. Also, look into water-saving faucets and shower heads.

* Install Efficient Faucets

Efficient faucets are designed to be as efficient as possible, letting out only the water you truly need. Buying and installing these faucets is a simple way to regulate your water use. Install them on every sink in your home to make sure people that aren’t committed to saving water do so every time they use a sink.

* Rain Water Collection

One underrated way to save water is to start a rain water collection. These collections take the natural water from rain storms and collect it into a large bin. Boil this water for a few moments to eliminate any potential viruses or bacteria and use it for cooking, bathing, drinking and any other reason you may use water.

Eco-Friendly Decorations

As many (most) of you, my favorite time of the year is Christmas. A time where family and friends come together to share good food, conversation, sometimes gifts, and bragging rights about decorations exceeding expectations. Though this time is precious with loved ones that doesn’t mean we can’t be aware and minimize the costs of celebrating to the environment and our own pocket. Below are some very simple ways to reduce your energy use, bills and overall carbon footprint.

1. Use Fiber Optic Decorations

The best way to reduce your carbon footprint over the holiday season is to decorate with fiber optic lights, even more so than energy-efficient light bulbs. Fiber optics only require one light source that is illuminated down the cables, drastically reducing energy needed compared to multiple bulbs each requiring current.

2. Timing Christmas Lights

A simple notion – Only turn on the lights when needed. There is no point in turning on your Christmas lights during the day but so many people do this. Some out of sheer ignorance but most due to the fact that they just forgot to turn them off from the night before. Using an inexpensive timer will allow you to ensure the lights are off during the day when the bulbs will be using unnecessary energy competing with natural light and automatically turn on the lights only during the peak evening hours when needed.

3. Use LED Christmas Lights

Costing on average only $10 a strand and consuming 90% less electricity compared to regular Christmas lights and regular incandescent bulbs, LED Christmas lights are a no brainer for the holiday season.

4. Use Candles to Light the Room

In my opinion rustic candles are more beautiful than a strand of Christmas lights any day of the week. Candles are a great way to light up a room during the holiday season and have the added bonus of emitting heat to help keep the furnace use down. Negligible some might say, but I say every little bit helps and in my small 580 square foot loft it makes an undeniable difference in temperature. If you really want to push the envelope you can be sure to recycle the wax from the candles!

5. Turn the Tree On, Turn the Lights Off

If your beautifully decorated tree that spent that whole afternoon on is lit up is there really any need to have the lights on? No. Not only will you be saving the energy use from unnecessary lights on but you will be enhancing the Christmas atmosphere.

6. Turn Down the Thermostat

With all those candles burning you can surely turn down the thermostat, especially once all your family and friend arrive and share their natural body heat!

7. Eco-Friendly Energy-free Gifts

Did you know that 40% of all battery purchases are made during the holiday season? Take this into consideration when you are doing your Christmas shopping this year. Buy energy-free gifts that don’t require power or gifts that make use of renewable sources such as solar. At the very least, if you can’t avoid a gift that requires batteries be absolutely sure to include rechargeable batteries.

Energy-Saving Laundry Tips

Eco-friendly Laundry

Washing and drying your clothes uses a lot of energy. If you don’t have access to a clothing line, try and use some of these tips to lower the amount of energy you use while getting your household laundering done. The planet will thank you!

Firstly, its always a good idea to wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents. For most of your clothing, this is perfectly fine.

Try and hold out on doing a load until you have enough to wash and dry full loads.

Dry your towels and any other heavy cottons in a separate load from light weight items. This will ensure you aren’t wasting energy by drying items that don’t need as long along with items that do.Additionally, use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

Always make sure that your dryer’s lint filter/collector is clean, as this will improve the overall efficiency of your machine.

Try and remember to examine the dryer vent to see that it’s cleared of material. This will save energy.

And of course, if at all possible, air-dry clothes when you can. Air-drying is actually way better for most clothes, and will save energy and extend the life of your garments.

efficient space heater

The Vornado Digital Vortex Heater was rated Best Overall by Good Housekeeping, and is listed as an energy efficient space heater. Vornado heaters are different from space heaters in that they use vortex action technology to fully circulate the warm air throughout the room in minutes! The DVTH has digital controls and uses automatic climate control which adjusts the heat output and fan speed higher or lower at all times to maintain the set temperature. This eliminates annoying hot and cold cycles where the heater shuts off allowing the room to cool and then turns back on to heat the room up again.

delonghi-eco-friendly-portable-air-conditioner

This De’Longhi Pinguino Portable Air Conditioner has 12,000 BTU’s for powerful performance. It incorporates an eco-friendly refrigerant gas, R410A, which actually has zero ozone depletion potential and is also denser, allowing for more compact components and units. R410A is a more-efficient refrigerant that allows for better energy-saving technology. And because it’s portable, you can spot cool different rooms as needed, which is a lot more energy-efficient than your central system.