Checklist for Installing Alternative Energy at Your Home
A checklist of products designed to conserve on energy consumption can be viewed as a priority list.
As a homeowner, you can identify changes to make that cost nothing, changes that cost little, and major energy saving products to invest in.
You Need to Start Somewhere
You might be surprised at how many small things you can do to save money on your power bills and reduce your home's footprint on the environment.
Many of the steps you can take are common sense but several may be items you've never though of. Often, it's the little things we do at home that end up costing a lot on the monthly power bill.
A programmable thermostat is a great energy saver if you use it wisely. There is no reason to keep the entire house warm or cool during the night when rooms are not in use or during the day when you are at work.
The programmable thermostat will make the temperature adjustments for you at pre-specified times. It helps if you dress appropriately for the season even when indoors.
You can set your thermostat lower in the winter if you wear layers of light clothing. A cold December day is not a good time to wear shorts and a tank top. You'll find yourself turning up the thermostat higher and higher to stay warm.
In the summer use fans to circulate air conditioned air in the home. A fan not only keeps cooled air from rising to the ceiling but provides air movement that makes you feel cooler.
Ceiling fans are a great option in all seasons and there are special stand alone fans known as "air moving fans" that can keep air flowing throughout the home.
Your hot water tank uses a lot of power to keep water at a certain temperature at all times. Reduce the setting from 130 degrees to 120 degrees.
For many years, all hot water tanks were set at 130 degrees to provide water hot enough for laundry use. Today's new washers and detergents work just as well with cold water.
When it's time to replace an old water heater look into all the options. There are solar water heaters that are gaining popularity but also tankless water heaters work for some homes. These provide water heated on demand and don't use power to maintain the temperature of a huge tank of water.
In the meantime, take five minute showers to use less hot water. Wash clothing in cold water when possible and wash only full loads of laundry. New front loading washers use significantly less water per load and allow for large loads to be washed at one time.
If you have an office at home or just a family computer, activate the sleep mode on computers and other office equipment when the items are not being used. If you will be gone for a few days, turn off the equipment.
In the U.S. we love our large homes. Home buyers look for a property with a formal dining room even though they may only use it once a year for a family holiday diner.
We want extra bedrooms, a living room and a separate family room. We ask for separate laundry rooms and pantries and mud rooms.
If you live in a one bedroom apartment, heating and cooling may be quite efficient but if you live in a home with extra bedrooms and living areas you can waste a lot of energy. When heating and cooling your home, close the doors and vents to rooms that are not in use.
Two guest bedrooms are great when family comes to stay for the weekend but don't need to be heated and cooled when not in use.
If you have a formal living area that is not used daily by your family consider closing it off with stylish French doors so you can heat or cool it only when the space is needed for entertaining.
More for Your Checklist
Storm windows can reduce heat loss by as much as 50% over single pane windows. If you can't afford storm windows you can reduce heat loss by installing plastic film on either the outside or inside of a window opening.
For the future, make plans for alternative energy installation of new double paned, insulated windows and doors.
Install aerators on sink faucets and low-flow showerheads when possible. If you live in an area where low water pressure is common, you may need to remove the low flow plastic element that is now present in all new showerheads. The low flow accessory is a small plastic disk inside the shower head.
With a plan and a checklist you can budget the home improvements with the of creating an energy efficient home environment. Go over your home room by room with a checklist to save as much money and energy as possible.