Have you made your house or business more efficient? Switched to renewable energy? Share your stories ideas below. When we make our businesses and homes more efficient, it can inspire friends and neighbors to do the same.
- Kill A Watt meter results – What did you learn about how much energy your appliances use? Were there any surprises? What changes have you made as a result of what you learned?
- Free energy assessment – What did you learn from your assessor, and what action are you taking as a result? How much money and energy do you expect to save?
- Everyday energy-saving ideas – Have a solar installation, on-demand hot water heater, or even a custom composting contraption? Do you walk to work, use your bike for transportation, or have a year-round clothesline in your basement?
Tell us how you save energy day to day.
Some of my favorite everyday energy-saving improvements are no- or low-cost:
— using a clothesline year-round whenever possible to dry laundry (saves on energy, $ and clothing wear and tear)
— keeping thermostat and hot water heater temps set as low as we can stand, at least until we can install a new energy efficient hot water heater (blankets make the winter cozier!)
— walking to the T to get into Boston for work and play
— using insulating cellular blinds to keep the heat IN in the winter and OUT in the summer and strategically opening sun-facing window coverings to let light and warmth from the sun in during the day in the winter.
Using a Kill A Watt device to check appliances’ energy use around the house, we discovered some “phantom use!” Our stereo (which has a very small little LED light that stayed on, and which we use so rarely) was still drawing 8 watts when “OFF,” so we put it on a power-strip to turn it completely off when not in use. TV and entertainment centers can draw much more, even when “OFF.” Our fix sounds like a small thing, but it will add up: to about 6 kWh a month. Putting the stereo on a power strip should save us about 69 kWh and $10. a year, and create 88 lbs. less carbon a year. We also discovered that our Energy Star frig has been earning its keep, with respectably low energy use even though it’s not brand new.
A side note on the cellular blinds: I was unable to find consistent comparisons for R-values of the cellular blinds among manufacturers, since some use Low-E glass, and others do not specify. We have 3 types of insulating blinds in use at my house because we’ve added them over time. The newest type, which are Levolor “room darkening” shades, appear to be by far the most insulating due to a layer of insulating foil on the inside, and they are comparably priced to other varieties. Though the trade-off is they won’t let light in during the day. We notice a big improvement in comfort (and blocking out night-time streetlights!) and expect to see the difference in energy use as well.