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To most Energy Analysts, reducing energy waste is the fastest, cleanest, and usually, the most inexpensive way to get more energy, reduce pollution and environmental harm, slow global warming and increase economic and national security.
Can my business be more energy efficient?
There are many ways that industries can cut their energy waste.
At a local level:
-By using cogenerating systems [when two useful forms of energy (such as heat and electricity) are generated from the same fuel source].
-By recycling materials- such as steel and other metals.
-By switching away from wasteful incandescent bulbs to LED lighting.
LEDs: use about 1/7th of the electricity & last about 100 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
At a national level:
-By converting the U.S. electrical grid system into a digitally controlled network to reduce huge amounts of waste.
-By stopping utility companies from encouraging electricity use instead of energy efficiency.
The Dow Chemical Company: set out to reduce its total energy consumption by 25% between 2007-2015. The mix of large and small improvements in efficiency cost them $1 billion, yet resulted in a savings of about $5 billion. And they save more each day.
Can my home be more energy efficient?
We can see immense energy savings by designing/ building with energy efficiency in mind and by modifying existing buildings to make them more energy efficient.
"Green" architecture makes use of: recycled materials or material-saving designs; natural lighting; passive solar heating; heat pumps for heating/ cooling; cogeneration; solar water heaters; PV solar; natural ventilation; energy-efficient appliances and lighting; motion sensors for lighting; rainwater collection; recycled wastewater; waterless urinals; composting toilets; non-toxic paints, glues, and building materials; living roofs, covered with soil and vegetation; and superinsulation.
Ways to modify existing buildings:
-Insulate and plug leaks. About 1/3 of heated air in a U.S. home is lost through holes, cracks, and closed single-paned windows. During hot weather, these same gaps let heat in.
-Use energy-efficient windows, which can cut heat loss
and/ or gain by 2/3.
-Stop other heating/cooling losses in attics or crawl spaces.
-Heat houses/water more efficiently, considering net energy usage.
-Using energy-efficient appliances/ lighting: consider net cost of new appliances, including energy costs and other ancillary costs.
Ways to save energy around the home:
In the Attic-
-Hang reflective foil near the roof to reflect heat.
-Use house fan to circulate air.
-Be sure attic insulation is at least one foot wide.
In the Bathroom-
-Install water-saving appliances.
-Repair water leaks quickly.
In the Kitchen-
-Use the microwave rather than stove or oven as much as possible.
-Run only full loads in the dishwasher and use low or no-heat drying.
-Clean refrigerator coils regularly.
In the Basement-
-Use front-loading clothes washer. If possible run only full loads with warm or cold water.
-Hang clothes on racks for drying.
-Run only full loads in clothes dryer and use lower heat setting.
-Set water heater at 140 degrees if the dishwasher is used or 120 degrees, or lower, if not.
-Use a water heater thermal blanket.
-Insulate exposed hot water pipes.
-Regularly clean or replace furnace filters.
In other Rooms-
-Turn off lights, computers, TVs, and other electronic devices when not in use.
-Use high-efficiency windows. Use insulating window covers and close them at night and on sunny, hot days.
-Set the thermostat as low as you can during the winter and as high as you can during the summer.
-Weather-strip and caulk doors, windows, light fixtures, and wall sockets.
-Keep heating and cooling vents free of obstructions.
-Keep fireplace damper closed when not in use.
-Use fans instead of, or along with, air conditioning.
-Plant deciduous trees to block summer sun and let in winter sunlight. [Note: this is termed “Passive Solar”]
Superinsulation. Buildings can be so heavily insulated that the heat from direct sunlight, appliances, and human bodies is enough to warm them with little to no additional input, even in extremely cold climates. The additional building cost is 5% more than a conventional house and is recovered usually within 5 years. Some superinsulated houses use 90% less energy (for heating/ cooling) than typical houses of the same size.