Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Energy Efficiency - Lighting, Cooking & Appliances

There are many ways to reduce your lighting energy consumption...first and foremost, turn them off when not in use or not needed.  Do I sound like your nagging mother yet?  Good!  She had a point!  You may also want to switch to CFL or LED bulbs.  CFL's are quite common where as good LED bulbs are still coming to fruition and are still quite expensive compared to light output so shop wisely here.  Switch your garden lighting to solar to save the power all those bulbs use by burning all night long.
Cooking with electricity can consume a lot of power needlessly.  To start with, cook with the lids on your pots.  Whenever possible, use a pressure cooker.  This will reduce cooking time dramatically.  Also, for smaller dishes, use your toaster oven instead of the stove.  Get or build a solar oven and use it often.  Bread can be baked reliably in one of these and they consume no energy whatsoever.  In the winter, use your wood stove to cook on, this way you get double duty from your wood.
Dishwashers are huge energy gobblers.  Not only do they run on electricity, they use a lot of hot water.  My suggestion is to uninstall your dishwasher, sell it on Craig's List, and start washing dishes by hand(gasp).  Don't keep the water running to do dishes, fill one dishpan with hot soapy water and another with clear hot water and a few drops of bleach.  Wash in the soapy, rinse in the bleached, and your done.  Now you can use that empty space for food storage.  Also, any appliance wit a little light on it when it is turned off uses a phantom load.  This means that even though the unit is off, power is being used to maintain the circuits so that it will come back to life faster when turned on.  Get a switched power bar for these items and turn that of when not in use.  True, each little item may not be using that much power but add them all up and they could equal 1 or 2 60w bulbs running all day every day.  When considering a new computer, keep in mind that laptops consume much less power than a desktop.  If you're house is like mine, then someone is likely using the computer at any given time of the day.  If you have a cloths dryer, consider the same fate as the dishwasher.  These monsters gobble power like no ones business.  Install an outdoor clothesline and get an indoor drying rack or two.  In winter, clothes hung near the fireplace or even next to the furnace will dry almost as fast as in the dryer.
In a nutshell, if not using it, turn it off.  Get efficient bulbs & appliances.  Get rid of what you really don't need.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to point out that in Canada most of the year incandescent bulbs in the household are nearly 100 percent efficient - what they don't have in visible light output is almost 100% heat, and we do heat our homes for more than half the year anyhow... So heat is good, and they produce heat, and that is a good thing!

    Conversely CFL and LED lights lose energy through radio waves, sound, and provide worse light (narrower spectrum and in many cases a 60 Hz flicker that can cause unnecessary stress)

    So to me, nah, I prefer incandescent lights.