Pakistan is facing severe energy shortage and therefore energy should be utilized very smartly in homes. As the electricity produced in our homes comes from limited resources that we have to pay for, and will ultimately run out of if we don’t utilize it responsibly. Becoming more energy efficient isn’t just for those of us who want to save the environment. Being energy efficient can really help your wallet. Whether it’s something as big as installing solar panels or something as small as turning off the lights, when you cut back on how much energy you use, you save money. There are many steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient. Some energy-efficient changes are one-time investments. Others are things you can do every day! Realize, though, that you don’t have to follow every step to be energy efficient. Even if you only implement two or three of these changes you will be saving energy, money, and the environment too.
Insulate your home
This measure requires extensive planning and is best done when constructing your home. Installing double-glazed windows and wall insulation in your home will help it maintain a comfortable temperature for a longer time and cut down on cooling and heating costs significantly. This might be cost-intensive at first, but will pay for itself in the long term. It’s important to make sure your house isn’t releasing too much air-conditioned air during the summer or heated air during the winter. If you have cracks in the frames of your windows, under your doors, in your houses basement or foundation, in the attic, or anywhere else in your home, you may be leaking electricity and money. Have a contractor inspect your home to determine whether additional insulation may be needed.
The site orientation needs to be decided by an expert architect in order to utilize maximum benefit of sunlight. The decision is taken depending on location and environmental conditionals of the area. Similarly, room orientations save energy too. Rooms facing east receive sunlight during morning and are cooler in the afternoon; ideal for kitchens and bedrooms. West-facing rooms should be avoided for these purposes.
Rooms facing south receive sunlight during most of the day; making these ideal for living and dining rooms. Garages, bathrooms, and laundries do best with north-facing rooms as these receive low sunlight.
A well-designed ventilation system does not only add to comfort of the residents but prevents overuse of electrical appliances for heating and cooling. Home designs are planned to ensure healthy natural ventilation, but it is not as effective nowadays. The reason is the use of heating and cooling systems requiring to keep homes closed off and changing environmental conditions. This is why spot and whole-house ventilation systems are implemented to make homes better at conserving energy.
Keep the water heater on pilot or at a lower setting
Whether your water heater/geezer runs on gas or electricity, it can consume quite a lot of energy due to its constant running and need to maintain the set temperature. You can reduce this energy by keeping it running on the pilot setting or keeping the thermostat at warm rather than hot, depending on the settings your water heater has. You can also make it more efficient by adding an insulator layer, which will maintain the set temperature for longer without consuming excess energy. Older tank-style water heaters use a lot of energy keeping the water in the tank hot. In fact, your water heater may account for up to a quarter of your energy use. To reduce the amount of energy your water heater uses, set the temperature of the water to 120 F (49 C). Don’t set your water heater any lower than 120 F (49 C), as this can allow dangerous pathogens to thrive in your water tank. You’ll save energy by turning down the water heater regardless of whether you have a gas or electric appliance, because it requires a lot of energy to produce the gas you use in your house. You can also make your water heater more efficient by covering it with an insulating blanket, and by adding insulating sleeves to the pipes.
Update your appliances
Older appliances were not manufactured with energy consumption concerns in mind and use outdated technology which pulls a lot of electricity. We all have those chunky appliances lying around handed down by our parents, but it might be time to update them. Most companies today make energy saving a top priority when manufacturing appliances, and compressors, in particular, have become much more efficient without taking up too much energy. Earlier domestic devices tend to use a lot more energy than modern ones, and energy-efficient appliances will use the least energy possible. When it comes time to replace old appliances, look for the Energy Star rating or another energy-efficiency seal of approval. Energy Star appliances use up to 50 percent less energy and water than their traditional counterparts.
- Front-loading washing machines are more energy-efficient than top-loading ones
- Refrigerators with the freezer on top or the bottom are more energy-efficient than side-by-side refrigerator-freezers
- Stoves with ceramic induction cook tops are more energy-efficient than traditional range cook tops
- Thankless on-demand water heaters are much more energy-efficient than tank-style water heaters
Use extension wires for appliances
It has been estimated by experts that appliances that are plugged in use up to 75% of their energy consumption when they are not in use. This is a worrying figure for both your bills and the environment, so measures need to be taken accordingly. What you can do is plug your appliances into smart power strips, which can cut off their energy absorption with the click of a button. This will help save a significant amount of energy and you will also see the difference in your bills.
Switch off and unplug chargers when not in use
One thing most of us are guilty of is leaving chargers on for prolonged periods of time. When you’re done charging your devices, switch your chargers off and unplug them. Even if they’re off and plugged in without the device attached, they continue to consume electricity.
Turn lights off or get automated lighting systems
Make it a habit to switch lights and fans off as you leave a room. Leaving unnecessary lights on around the home is a needless waste of energy and can inflate your bills if it happens regularly. Instill the habit of switching electronics off as you leave the room in yourself and your whole family, so that all of you play a part in making this country and this planet a better place to live for generations.
Use energy-efficient LED bulbs
Lighting consumes a surprising amount of energy in the home, no matter what wattage it is. These days, the conventional fluorescent bulbs and tube lights are used less and less in home construction, which is an encouraging sign. LED bulbs consume as much as 80% lesser energy than fluorescent bulbs, so they are the obvious choice. If you get these lights from reliable companies, they will also last as much as three to 20 times longer than conventional light bulbs.
Use more natural lighting.
Do you tend to keep the curtains and blinds closed and flip on the overhead lights? Letting your house flood with natural light instead can lead to big electricity savings. Unless you need strong, focused light to complete a particular task, try leaving the lights off during the day and embracing the sun’s rays in the rooms you’re using. Try to set up your family’s daytime work and play space in the brightest room in your house. That way everyone can read, work on art projects, use computers, and so on without relying on artificial lighting. Use light-colored curtains and blinds as window coverings. Find coverings that provide privacy but still allow diffused light to flood your rooms.
Plant a tree
Outside your home, plant deciduous shade trees in your yard on the side of your house that gets the most intense sun during the summer months (usually the side with the western exposure). The tree and its leaves will then provide shade during the hottest time of day and naturally help to keep your home cool. In winter, when the tree will be bare, it will allow warm sunshine into your home during the most optimal time of day.