Energy Efficiency can be an Individual Effort

We have a choice: We can continue with business-as-usual energy use, or we can use energy smarter and waste less by investing in efficiency measures and participating in energy savings programs targeted to consumers (e.g. utility-sponsored rebate programs). Energy efficiency can give us more control over how and when we consume energy, while maintaining the same (or better) comfort, convenience, and quality of life.

We can start right where we live. Homes that are built or retrofitted properly waste less energy. The International Energy Code provides a baseline for energy saving construction practices. The Code is updated every three years and the most current version should be supported and enforced by your local code officials and elected sustainability officers.

Homeowners who invest in energy efficiency have more control over their energy costs, increase their comfort, and add to their home’s value. Homes can be built smart from the start or become smarter by installing energy-efficient equipment and appliances including smart thermostats and ENERGY STAR certified products. Even personal electronics, such as mobile tablets and set-top boxes (for cable/satellite receiving) are now certifiable. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average U.S. household owns 24 consumer electronics products which are responsible for 12 percent of household electricity use. If all set-top boxes in the U.S. met ENERGY STAR requirements, consumer energy cost savings would grow to about $1 billion each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 2 million cars.¹ So, when you are deciding on a cable or satellite service, be sure to ask the service provider for an ENERGY STAR certified set-top box.

Owners of existing homes can invest in low-cost energy, Do-It-Yourself improvements by adding or replacing insulation and sealing leaky ducts, attics, and windows. Efficient heating and cooling systems, water heating systems, and appliances also slash energy bills, realizing significant energy savings where they replace older, conventional models. On average, owners of existing homes can readily save 25–30 percent on their energy bills through cost-effective efficiency improvements.² Since each of us has the opportunity to save energy, which energy efficiency measure will you implement today?

¹https://www.energystar.gov/products/electronics/set_top_boxes_cable_boxes
²http://aceee.org/sites/default/files/ee-primer-4-6-15.pdf

 

by, Jennifer King, Student in 425.601, Principles & Applications of Energy Technology
AS 425.601.81
Fall 2015

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