Learn How to Increase Energy Efficiency in Home or Business

Posted by Dave VanTol on Tue, May 17, 2011 @ 09:05 AM

Simple, Practical Energy Efficiency Tips for Homeowners and Businesses

These are some simple tips than anyone can implement for immediate energy savings.  I know, because these are the very same things I did in my home.

I am a Journeyman Electrician, but as you will see as we move through the tips that there is more to energy efficiency than electricity.

This process has become a game for me.  I constantly think of way that I can get my energy bills to go down.  I hate writing that check every month when I know there are ways I could have saved energy. 

Let's take a look at the tips from the past two weeks;

3 Tips, 3 Hours Your "Homework"

Did you do your "Homework" last week?  Did you forget? Here is the link to last weeks tips 4-6  or the Tips from week 1, tips 1-3. No problem if you didn't, but the sooner you make the changes, the sooner you put money in your pocket. 

Each one of the 9 Tips (3 per week for 3 weeks) should take you about an hour to implement...or about 9 hours.  Maybe you just do 1 per week and it takes you 9 weeks...it doesn't matter as long as you have a plan.

The energy efficiency solutions I implemented took me about an hour to do each one.  It may take you a little more time, but don't worry, your saving money when you are saving energy.

Tip #7 - Don't Forget About Outside

If you live in remote areas or have flood lights on all night toenergy-saving-tips-homeowners-businesses illuminate your yard or driveway, I highly recommend looking into some of the newer lighting technologies like LED or Inductive fluorescents.

The older HID lighting consumes a lot of energy to do it's job and those are typically the lights that are on for the most time.

Tip #8 How HOT is Your Hot Water Heater?

Next look at your water heater, is it on the hotest setting?

Ever since I moved into my home I never bothered to look.

I didn't realize that for years I was paying to heat my water to temperatures so hot it would cause burns to the skin.

I have it set now to a temperature of around 102-104 degrees, anything hotter is money wasted.

Don't worry about your dishes or clothes not getting clean, modern soaps and detergents will work in cold water.

If your water heater is old and needs to be replaced I suggest using the new tankless style, while they are more of an investment they are far more efficient and cost much less to operate in the long run.

Quality is important here as well.  Most new water heaters will give you estimated costs of operation.  Quality usually equals higher efficiency.  Do the math and make sure it makes sense.

You will spend a little more up front, but what that gets you in return is typically a better product that lasts longer and is more efficient.

Oh and the gas portion of my daily costs, it's right around $5.05 per day. That's for my water heater and furnace.

Tip #9 Saving For Savings-Long Term Projects

Windows

My next step will be new windows. I will pay more for the higher end materials but I know in the long run I will be ahead. Windows are one of the best opportunities for energy savings. 

Can't afford new windows?  Take a look at energy savings blinds or even the plastic you can put over windows in the winter time. 

Little things can make a big difference.

Is it Worth it? 

My goal is to get my daily costs down to $1.50 per day for my gas fired appliances; water heater and furnace. $5.05 to $1.50....doesn't seem like much, the $3.55 difference. 

BUT...$3.55 everyday for 365 days = $1,277.00 per year savings. 

So even if the savings doesn't look like much, don't forget to multiply this out. 

This could be a vacation for my family...a new toy...a weekend away with my wife...OR you can look at the $1,277.00 as the budgeted amount you have to make the improvements you need.

That amount of money can go a long way toward improvements....One thing is for certain...you will give that money to the utility if you don't make ANY improvements!!

Shift Your Thinking

It really does take effort to change your habits. I was raised with the mentality of look at "how much it costs", my new way of thinking is "how much does it cost to operate".

Just being aware of opportunities for savings can have a major impact on your energy consumption habits.

Here's Your Homework:

  1. Take Inventory of your exterior lighting.

  2. Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater.

  3. Consider all options; windows, roofing, etc. You can save for bigger improvements over time. 

3 Tips, 3 Hours, How Long Did It Take You? Let us know in the comments below if our 1 hour per tip is accurate. 

Don't forget to be safe, use ladders the right way and be smart around electricity.

Still trying to figure out Energy Efficiency?  Take a look at this article written by Jimmy Hovey, "What's a Watt?"

Interested in a FREE Energy Audit of your facility?  Hovey Electric specializes in analyzing facilities with at least 10,000 square feet and at least 5 years old. Schedule your FREE visit today. Offered in Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Leave a comment and share with us what ideas you have for saving energy in your home or business!

Topics: Improve Energy Efficiency, calculate energy savings, how to increase energy efficiency