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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogIn the past few years, there have been advances in energy efficiency that make investing in efficient appliances and upgrades more cost-effective. The basic principles that help homeowners save energy have been known for a long time, but it is only recently that energy efficient tech has become cheap enough to make the investment worthwhile. This article will discuss some of the best ways to save energy in the home and discuss the recent advances that have made it worthwhile to upgrade the home. Appliances The Energy Star standard is more than just a way to point out which brands save energy- it provides detailed information about how much energy an appliance is expected to consume during use. Having an energy efficient refrigerator can save quite a lot of money because the fridge needs to run constantly, so it is always using electricity. Other good candidates for an efficiency upgrade are the air conditioner and light bulbs. Heat Leakage The single biggest energy loss comes from heating up the house in the winter and cooling it in the summer. Part of the problem is that heat is leaking out in the winter and in during the summer through cracks and gaps in the house's construction. One of the best ways to counteract this effect is with upgraded door and window frames. Frames without good sealing are prime zones for heat leakage, and closing them up can save a lot in heating and cooling costs. For example, Gilkey Windows can install heat-efficient windows as an upgrade to older frames that have gaps or poor sealing material. Smart-Home Systems A smart home is a system of appliances that are networked together with computer hardware and software. You can control this system by setting up preferences and instructions about when to turn appliances on and off. This can save money by, for example, reducing temperature controls when everyone is asleep or away from the house, and then turning the controls back on when people are about to wake up or return home. That combines comfort with efficient use of the appliances for energy savings that don't need to sacrifice ease of use. Once you are familiar with the basic principles of energy efficiency, it becomes easy to find places to upgrade your home and save money. It takes an up-front investment in a more efficient improvement, but in the long run the energy savings pay off.
If you are a home owner or are looking to buy a home, you should consider the importance of having an energy efficient and family friendly home. A green home will keep your energy bills down and will be helpful for the environment. There are many green communities like the ones found at Princeton Classic Homes in Texas. Below, you can find out what they are doing to accomplish this with these seven tips. Fluorescent lighting Switching to fluorescent lighting in your home will cut down on your energy usage drastically. Florescent bulbs use less than 1/4th of the amount of energy that normal bulbs use. Although they are more expensive than normal light bulbs, they will last much longer unlike light bulbs that need to be replaced after extended use. They will also help you lower your monthly energy bill. After a few months, they will have paid for themselves in their energy savings. Replace your old appliances If you are still using appliances from the 1990’s, it is time to replace them. Old appliances have poor energy efficiency ratings and may be costing you more than you think. Inefficient appliances can be costing you thousands of dollars a year in wasted energy usage. The biggest offender of this is the refrigerator. By exchanging your old fridge for a new one, you could easily cut down on the energy you use significantly. Keep your windows open Use the sun to your advantage. Keep your windows open and the blinds drawn whenever the sun is out. By doing this, you will be able to cut down on the electricity used to light your house. Also, keeping your central air off in favor of a cool breeze will make a big impact on the amount of energy you use. As an added bonus, you will be able to enjoy the fresh air that will be circulating through your home by keeping your windows open. Clean with micro fiber Ditch the cleaning products where ever you can and use micro fiber cloths instead. Micro fiber cloths attract dirt and will allow you to clean surfaces without the use of harmful chemical sprays. Dampened microfiber cloths will be able to effectively clean most hard surfaces throughout your kitchen and bathroom including glass and wood. You can re-use these cloths after you throw them in the wash. Grow plants indoors Plants will help filter the air in your home. They will absorb some pollutants and expel clear air. There are many plants that are particularly good at this. Plants like spider plants, rubber plants, palms and boston ferns are all easy to care for indoors and will make a noticeable difference with the air quality in your home. Always recycle Recycling is important for the environment, but this goes beyond simply keeping an extra recycle bin in your home. You can take recycling to a whole new level by re-purposing items that you would otherwise throw away. Use egg cartons as jewelry organizers, save glass jars and use them as cups, or think of some of your own ideas. Anything you can find a use for instead of throwing it away will be helpful for the environment. Switch to solar Solar energy is becoming more popular with the new advances that are being made to it year by year. It is becoming increasingly more affordable and efficient as we continue to perfect them. Many people shy away from the idea of switching to solar because they feel it is an all-or-nothing option. This is not the case. You can start small and use that amount of solar energy to add along with feeding off of the electricity grid. No matter what amount you can commit to, any bit will help.