Using Energy More Efficiently in your home

Using Energy more efficiently is using it wisely!

Wise use of energy means three things.
1. Trust and invest in more efficient domestic appliances and energy systems that consume energy.
2. Improve and optimize whatever resources and strategies you already implement (or intent in) for your home energy conservation.
3. Be conscious of the need of the hour to conserve and optimize. Also your personal involvement in it with your contribution to use energy at a sustainable rate.

Studies have shown that our per capita energy consumption has not shown any increase in the past many years in spite of the vast strides made in the improved earnings, living conditions and standard of living.

Energy therefore has to be used most importantly at a sustainable rate if you (and your country) expect to maintain at least the prosperity, security and the clean environment levels that you enjoy right now.

What can be done?
The SEI in Ireland and other Energy Policy Implementing Authorities the world over concentrate on 5 major angles of approach in order to conserve energy used in residential applications. These are;
• Making improvements to the Building Envelope
• Replacing older heating systems , cooling systems, lighting and other energy consuming devices with modern efficient devices and systems
• Repairing and Adjusting and the existing Systems for optimization
• Use of Alternative Energy
• Educating the occupants and making them aware of the necessity for energy efficiency improvement in houses and also change the occupants behavioral patterns to optimize usage.

Efficient energy systems and appliances
Approximately 40 % of your home energy use is by domestic appliances excluding the space heating system. Quite a high percentage you may say. Just imagine if your appliances are rated red what it will mean and if they are green how beneficial it will be all round. Therefore if you are using old equipment that are past their prime and want to purchase new equipment or if you are using low efficiency equipment it may be worth your while in the long run to go for A+ energy rated appliances in spite of the higher price (difference may not be that much anyway).

The equipment in this category will not be limited to electrical equipment. Appliances using any other forms of

Lighting and minor appliances account for about 18 -20% of even in a well insulated and weather-stripped home’s energy bill. Use of CFL and Solid State Lighting can be implemented with minimum investments in order to reduce this percentage. Solar energy whether passive or active is a worthwhile long term investment that can help.

What of your Space heating system?
The space heating system is another big energy guzzler having a share of approximately to 50 to 60% of the total energy consumption of a house having poorly carried out wastage minimizing measures. Today one finds quite a selection of Home Heating Systems and equipment at hand .Use of natural gas and oil (though fossil fuels) is the most popular in Europe and devices like condensing boilers have emerged as highly efficient systems. Mind you electrical energy is still the most efficient and convenient at the point of usage but when you consider the energy cost, generation and transmission losses you are sure to have second thoughts (unless of course you have your own power generation system!).

Conserve resources and optimize
Ok you have a highly efficient space heating system let’s say. What good it will be if (taking an extreme case) the house does not have any insulation?
It is therefore important to give the building envelope insulation its due consideration if you have any ideas of cutting down the 50 to 60% consumption mentioned elsewhere.
Low “U” value (i.e. High R values) is what you must look for in your insulation.
The building envelope is also the cause of infiltration (otherwise known as leakage).Weather-stripping, replacing old windows and doors with modern double and triple glazing units are some measures that will bring about improvements.

Passive solar heating is some thing that can be implemented easily especially is new constructions. Orienting the building southerly, south facing windows, landscaping for optimizing solar energy etc. is encouraged today.

Alternative energy usage to supplement conventional energy has gained popularity over the past decade. No wonder when one considers that the fuel cost in all such systems is nil. Even in energy efficient home the water heating component of the bill is a staggering 30% or so. Use of solar panels presents a good alternative solution to bring this value down. It is imperative that if you do not want to retrofit the existing heating system to at least have it in peak operating conditions.

Use of microprocessor controlled regulating devices; sensors, etc are now available for energy optimization. Good maintenance cannot be ignored when it comes to energy conservation and efficiency of the heating system.

All efforts in this exercise will be wasted if the occupants are not convinced of the necessity of it. While automation will reduce the wastage due to negligence there are still tasks needing educating the occupants about. Interestingly this human angle is some times one of the most difficult to tackle due to socio –economic, cultural, educational and personal differences among the humans.

Thanks the Techstore Team

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