The U.S. Dept. of Energy says the residential sector accounts for about 21% of the total U.S. energy consumption. Of the energy used in U.S. homes in 2015, 55% of it was used for heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting accounted for the remaining 45% of total consumption.
In 2019, the average household used energy that released an estimated 17,320 lbs. of CO2. To put this number in perspective, on an annual basis the average household is responsible for releasing 70% more CO2 emissions compared to the average passenger vehicle.
Builders can change all this. Homeowners can save between 5-30% on their home energy bills by making home energy upgrades typically identified in a home-energy assessment. By reducing energy in the home, homebuilders and homeowners can meet environmental targets and be a good steward of the world we live in.
Let’s explore five steps to reduce your energy consumption. Keep in mind, there are many changes that can be made. These are just a few ideas; many more exist.
Data is power. Data needs to play a role in how we help regenerate the natural ecosystem and usher in a new era of sustainability. Make sure you are leveraging it when it is provided to you.
Unplug your computer. Sounds really simple right? Well, it’s a lot trickier than you might think. When a computer or any device sits idly by it actually sucks up energy. And I am certain most of you reading this have heard me say a time or two on my radio show that this has earned the nickname of consuming vampire power. Even when turned off or in standby mode appliances and connected devices are using and wasting electricity. Just for the heck of it, I walked around the house and I could count at least 30 items that were sucking the energy load all at once.
Most computers are built to use up to 400 kilowatts of electricity per hour, but they usually use less than that. With more people working from home, compute6r and electronic consumption in homes is likely on the rise. I am guessing most of our consumption has doubled if not tripled as a result. One idea might be to shut down your computer and track energy consumption on an app.
Mind all your devices. An average tablet uses 0.015kWh of power, which equates to around three cents per day if plugged in for eight hours. A 100 watt TV running for 12 hours every day will consume 1200 watt hours = 1.2 kWh (units) of electricity in a day and 36 kWh of electricity in the entire month. In an average year, a second-gen Amazon Echo will consume about 15.2 kilowatt hours (kWh), which adds up to less than $2 for your annual energy bill. Eliminate much of this compute power by unplugging idle devices that aren’t in use. Better yet consider smart plugs that help to manage these connections for you.
If you really wanted to be aware of your energy consumption how about unplugging those appliances you are not using at all? Now it’s estimated almost 10% of a household’s homes energy bill comes from those vampire appliances that are left plugged in sucking up energy usage like microwaves, toasters, clock radios, VCRs, mini-refrigerators, extra freezers, chargeable toothbrushes, pedestal mirrors, and more.
Choose the right lights. A LED light bulb uses just seven to 10 watts while a fluorescent light bulb consumes 16-20 watts, an incandescent light bulb will use 60 watts typically and cost about 0.6 cents an hour to run. Connected lights are even better because they give you the data so desperately needed to track consumption.
Turn off the lights (with a connected switch). Smart switches can control your lights—among other devices—from your mobile device. While convenience is certainly one advantage, saving energy is another. If a homeowner is out for the day or traveling, lights or appliances can be turned off remotely. Smart switches can also reduce energy costs related to lighting, heating, and cooling, helping ultimately save energy costs each month. While these all sound simple and little at first. They all add up and that’s really what matters if we all play our part.
What would you add to advance our energy journey? What other steps do we need to take as a society to reduce energy consumption in our homes?
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