How To Reduce Energy at Home

How to reduce energy at home has gradually become a household desire as a result of high definition T.V.’s and homes the size of a castle. Throw in a struggling economy and the melt down of a nuclear plant and becoming more energy efficient seems like a great idea.Our power bills rise as a result of increasing power costs and the need for more and more power to operate are power hungry homes and our power dependent lifestyles. Becoming energy smart and working to control energy usage and energy waste is our defense against those hefty power bills.Here are 9 steps you can take to answer the question, How to Reduce Energy at Home.1. Hang on to Your Power Bill.Your power bill has a lot of information on it that you need to have to assess your homes power usage. You don’t have to worry about how you’re going to monitor the power you use throughout the year, your power company already has that information available. Your power bill tells you how many therms of Natural Gas and how many kilowatt hours of electricity you used last month and how it compares to the same month a year earlier.Some households will need to hold onto the power bills that come in the mail and some can access that information from their power company on-line. It is important as household energy reduction programs are undertaken, that a years record of power consumption is available.Tip: Ask your power company if they are participating in the Green Button program. The Green Button program allows people to access their energy usage on-line.2. Welcome a Change in Lifestyle.You can no longer conduct yourself in your home like you did when electricity was 3 cents a kilowatt hour and the only electric appliance you had in your home, other than the Frigidaire, was a light bulb.Lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce energy consumption and to avoid wasting energy. It will take a greening of the mind and a conscious effort to follow desired energy saving practices.Tip: Start with something simple like turning off lighting when not needed and setting back the thermostat at night and when your away at work.3. Conduct an Energy Audit. You’ll Learn How to Reduce Energy at HomeAn energy audit of your home will help guide energy saving measures. A home energy audit will identify areas of energy waste and what measures you should address first to save the most energy on a cost-effect bases.To start the home energy audit process, have your home assessed on-line. It’s free and it will offer valuable information. There is a number of web-sites that have home energy audit calculators that you can use. The first place to look for an on-line assessment program is your power companies website.Tip: Your power company may have an on-line audit program or they may even offer a free home visit from an energy auditor. Give your power company a call.4. Weatherization is Cost Effective. Now This is How to Reduce Energy at Home.Usually, the most cost-effective method of reducing energy usage and lowering power bills is through weatherization measures. Whether you live in a cold climate and need to keep the cold weather outside or you live in a warm climate and need to keep the hot weather outside, weatherization measures offer the help you need.Air Sealing:Your home has more holes in it than you know. Air sealing these holes offers the air barrier you need to separate the outdoor climate from the indoor climate.Insulation:Adding insulation to your homes building shell – the ceiling, floor, and walls, – strengthens your homes thermal barrier and offers defense against heat loss or heat gain because of radiation, conduction, and convection.Tip: Low-income households can get weatherization help through Community Action Programs. Ask your power company if there is a home weatherization, Community Action Program in your area.5. Heating & Cooling Efficiency.Upgrading your heating and cooling system to a more energy efficient source can save energy for years to come. There is no reason for any home to have a $400 dollar electric bill anymore. Air source and ground source heat pumps have greatly increased energy efficient in the last ten years. Ductless heat pumps provide heating and cooling for a fraction of the cost of baseboard heaters, resistant ceiling heat, or electric wall heaters.The 70% efficient gas furnace of the 1970’s has been updated to the 95% efficient gas furnaces available today. Heating and Cooling Contractors are available to visit your home and discuss the options available that best fit your home and your needs.Tip: Before upgrading central heating or cooling equipment, have the supply and return ducts sealed against air leakage. No use wasting all that efficiently conditioned air through ducts that leak.6. Water Heater, Too Often ForgottenThe only time we pay attention to our water heater is right after a cold shower. After all, the water heater is often located in a mostly hidden location, it doesn’t make any noise, and it doesn’t have any bells and whistles. The water heater is often the #2 energy user in our homes and therefore, when we’re attempting to reduce energy use, needs to have some attention directed it’s way.If your water heater is leaking water from the tank, replace it right away and pay attention to the energy efficiency rating of the new water heater. If your water heater is not leaking, do these two energy saving measures:Adjust water temperature:The most energy efficient water temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a gas water heater, adjusting the temperature is easy with the dial on the water heater gas valve. If your water heater is electric, you will need to remove the element covers to adjust the temperature. It is best to turn the electricity off at the circuit panel before attempting this adjustment.Water Heater Blanket:Your water heater maybe insulated already, but additional insulation blanket around the outside will save energy. Read the owners manual for your water heater and follow the directions. Water heater blankets are available at most building stores, the blanket will also contain written instructions for it’s installation.7. Appliance Upgrades Save EnergyMicrowaves heat food more efficiently than a range. New refrigerators use less energy than ones manufactured 10 years ago. New clothes washing machines use less energy and less water. Clothes dryers with moisture sensors, turn off when clothes are dry. New surge protector power strips can stop phantom power loss.When replacing an old appliance or shopping for a new one, remember to look for the Energy Star Label.8. Lighting TechnologyYou will be surprised at the number of light bulbs you have in your home. Take a guess at the number and then go around yur home and count each one. Most people are surprised to realize how many light bulbs their home actually has.For those lighting fixtures you use the most and are left on the longest, compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs can save significant energy. There is a CFL bulb designed for every light fixture in the home.9. Renewable EnergyHomes with renewable energy sources like solar electric and wind turbines, not only produce energy but also save more energy. There seems to be a connection between the desire to produce renewable energy and the awareness to reduce energy use. So, one good way to save energy is to produce the energy your saving.If your considering a renewable energy system, the first thing you will want to do is contact your power company. Your power company knows more about renewable energy than you might think.These are the 9 steps on How to Reduce Energy at Home. Reducing energy use does not require large sacrifices nor a degree in electrical engineering, it simply requires energy use awareness and a power bill that has the ability to open your eyes.Thank you for stopping by, hope you will come back soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…

Wave Energy – An Ocean Full of Potential

Wave Energy also known as ocean wave power, is another type of ocean based renewable energy source that uses the power of the waves to generate electricity. The Earth has not been called the “Blue Plant” without a good reason. Nearly three-quarters of the plant is covered in water, so it is only natural that the search for a clean, renewable source of energy should lead us to the oceans around us. Using the potential energy stored in the oceans and seas to generate electricity ensures that power being generated will be pollution free. Using the power of the waves and ocean currents is not new as wave, tidal and hydro power has been used for many thousands of years. What is new however, is the way in which we now harness, store and generate electricity from it.Making use of the energy that can be produced by the ocean waves is not easy as the worlds oceans are obviously vast. But these oceans contain a massive amount of usable energy just waiting to be tapped. One only needs to look back a few years to the tsunami in Japan to understand this. While it is clear there is plenty of energy present in the oceans and seas, the question is whether we can convert this stored energy into a continuous renewable energy source. The answer is we are already starting to.Unlike tidal energy which uses the ebb and flow of the tides, wave energy uses the vertical movement of the surface water that produce tidal waves. The oceans waves are full of kinetic energy (movement) as they move around the oceans, and it is this energy which can be used to power a turbine or an electrical generator. Wave energy collection is a passive process in which the energy of the waves is automatically converted by turbines. This type of renewable energy source is also environmentally friendly, as it creates no atmospheric pollution and has a small carbon footprint.While the oscillating motion of the waves may be the same around the oceans, there are a few different ways in which we can harness the energy from the moving waves. Wave power converts the periodic up-and-down movement of the oceans waves into electricity by placing equipment on the surface of the oceans that captures the energy produced by the wave movement and converts this mechanical energy into electrical power.The four main types of wave energy devices are:Point Absorbers – which are tethered to the ocean floor.
Wave Attenuators – which are long horizontal semi-submerged snake-like devices.
Oscillating Water Column – which converts wave energy into air pressure.
Overtopping Devices – where the sea waves are driven up the ramp filling-up a small tidal reservoir.These four types of wave energy devices need not be placed way out into the oceans to benefit from the power of the waves. Depending on the distance between the wave energy conversion device and the shoreline, there are three possible locations were these four energy converting devices can be placed and these are classified as: shoreline, nearshore and offshore. Each location and energy conversion device has its own advantages and disadvantages.Wave energy has great potential as Mother nature provides a large supply of renewable wave energy every day. The technology already exists for extraction of this free energy as there are many wave energy conversion devices in the oceans around the world at this time generating renewable energy, but there but there is still a long way to go as there are many technical challenges to be solved.One of the challenges to overcome in using the energy of the waves is that the ocean waves, although consistent in the fact that the worlds oceans are constantly moving (especially near coastal areas), they are variable as weather conditions and seasonal changes affect wave height. Another major challenge to effectively harnessing the energy is figuring out a way to construct devices that can survive the harsh oceanic conditions as some devices have already been destroyed by the energy carrier itself: “the sea”.However, if the technology and efficiencies are improved offshore wave energy can provide many advantages compared to other forms of renewable energy sources. One of its main advantages is that wave energy is generally considered to provide a clean source of renewable energy with limited negative environmental impacts with very low or zero CO2 emissions. Wave energy also has negligible land use and large scale implementation of wave power technologies could help stimulate declining shipbuilding and dockyard industries that could help fabricate these metal bodied wave energy devices.Despite the challenges of harnessing the power of the waves, there are still plans to build wave energy farms throughout the world. Like solar and wind power, wave power is completely green, completely clean and completely sustainable. The challenge is to figure out how to do it effectively, efficiently and economically.