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Green Energy Efficiency At Home

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    Green Energy Efficiency At Home

    By Blair Stephens

    With gas and oil prices on the rise, many people are talking about energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources in the home. Some people automatically assume that making their home more energy efficient is going to cost a lot of money up front, but in reality that's not the case. The first step in making your home more energy efficient is merely to improve your internal appliances and systems with a bit more thought. We'll give you some simple rules that will make your home more comfortable, your fuel bills lower and your conscience lighter as you use less fossil fuels.

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    <b>Rule # 1</b>: Let There Be Light. We all need electricity but did you know that by using energy efficient LED lights and compact fluorescent bulbs in all of your home fixtures you could cut your energy use exponentially? For instance, one study found that merely by using LED lighting rather than traditional incandescent bulbs you could save 90% of home lighting energy consumption. In many cases, not only do fluorescent, LED and other energy efficient lighting options use less energy, they also last longer and are more durable. Yes, they may cost a little more up front, but you'll see the value when they pay for themselves after a year or so of use and you can scratch light bulbs off your weekly list at the market or hardware store.

    <b>Rule # 2</b>: Look at Your Appliances. As you review your electric load (or how much electricity you use to run your home) you should cast a glance at all of your appliances. Any that are very old and out of date, especially washers, dryers and refrigerators could all be costing you far more money than you think and taxing the environment to boot. When you look for appliances, try to find ones that are specifically designed to use less power and be more efficient. Not only will you probably be able to get some spiffy rebates, you'll also be offsetting the cost of your new energy efficient appliance with the savings you'll immediately see on your utility bills. Check out Energy Star's website to find the most efficient models available for the appliance you're looking to upgrade. Their website is

    <b>Rule # 3</b>: Consider Your Climate. This relates not only to where you live and what your environment is like but also to how you regulate the temperatures in your home. First, is your home well insulated? If not, you are allowing in and letting out a lot of energy, heat and cold .Improving your insulation is one of the best and easiest ways to make your home more efficient. How are your windows? What can you do to retain heat in the winter and repel it in the summer? Also, if you have an attic, are you keeping it properly ventilated during the summer months? If it gets too hot up at the top of your house, your whole cooling system will have to work that much harder so you should consider installing a solar powered attic fan that will keep your attic well ventilated and moderate the overall temperature. A dry and ventilated attic is a happy one. Finally, how are you cooling your home in the summer? If you live in an arid climate and you are still using traditional air conditioning, you do have other options. Environmentally friendly evaporative coolers (or "swamp coolers") are often just as effective and require a third of the power or less.

    <b>Rule # 4</b>: Think Green. Whenever you make decisions about your major home systems in the future, think about installing systems that are more efficient and that could potentially be powered by an alternative energy source. If you have to sink a chunk of change into a new hot water heater, boiler or home heating system don't just walk down the path of least resistance. It is possible that for a similar investment you could install a tank-less hot water heater or for a bit more money, install an energy efficient solar heating system in your home. It may seem far fetched, but when you see the monthly savings and you factor in the potential tax rebates and the money you would have spent either way, you'll see how smart it can be. The key when looking at installing a solar power system or wind turbine system is that this is a long term investment, but you'll actually see a return on it within as little as 2 to 6 years. By investing up front and ultimately off-setting your fossil fuel consumption your energy efficient hot water heater will actually pay for itself, unlike traditional fossil fuel dependent ones.

    <b>Rule # 5</b>: If You Think You Are Ready, Review Rules 1-4. Even if you think you are ready today, right now to install solar panels or a wind turbine to power your home you need to make your home as energy efficient as possible FIRST. Why? Because, in general, for every $1 you spend on making your home more energy efficient you reduce the cost of your alternative energy system down by $3 to $5. Once you have reduced down your energy usage, you can accurately determine how much energy you will need to produce with renewable energy. Having this accurate information will tell you how many solar air heating collectors you need, solar water heating collectors your need, solar electric panels you need, or if you need a solar wind hybrid power system; if you can operate independently or if you need a grid-tie in system; and perhaps most importantly, how much you are going to spend to convert to renewable power.

    So, start simple, invest wisely and think green and eventually you will be the self-powered, money saving, energy efficient one on the block.

    Blair Stephens is a prolific copywriter and proud member of the <a href=""></a> team. The alternative energy store specializes in providing solar power systems, wind turbine systems and other alternative energy sources for home and commercial use. They are truly Making Renewable Do-Able!