The term “energy efficient” is used to describe everything from kitchen appliances and lighting to vehicles and homes. Even though this term is often in the headlines, many people still don’t understand what it means or why energy efficiency is important. Is “energy efficiency” just another buzzword or does it carry more significance? Here’s what you need to know:
What is Energy Efficiency?
Energy efficiency is the practice of reducing energy use without suffering a loss of quality. For example, if a refrigerator is energy efficient, this means it consumes less energy while performing the same tasks as other refrigerators. It will keep your food and beverages just as cool as other refrigerator models, but it will require less energy to do so.
If someone says they want to live an energy efficient lifestyle, this simply means that they want to find convenient ways to consume less energy in their daily lives.
What Are the Benefits of Energy Efficiency?
Now that you understand what energy efficiency means, it’s important to dig a little deeper to learn about the benefits of leading an energy efficient lifestyle. Some of the benefits of energy efficiency include:
- Lower Utility Bills
- Higher Resale Value
- Protect the Planet
- Better Quality of Life
Lower Utility Bills
The average U.S. household spends over $2,000 on energy bills every year. This means a significant portion of your annual household budget is used to cover energy costs. Fortunately, it is possible to drastically lower your utility bills by making energy efficient changes at home. The more energy you save at home, the less you will have to spend on energy bills.
Higher Resale Value
Numerous studies have shown that making energy efficient upgrades can increase the resale value of your home.
One study found that making energy efficient upgrades increased the resale value of a home by about 6% in Los Angeles County. Another study found that these upgrades increased the average resale value of a home in Washington D.C. by up to 5%.
How much of an increase in your home’s resale value should you expect? It will depend on a number of factors, including the type of energy efficient upgrades you make, the condition of your home, the state of the real estate market, and your location.
Protect the Planet
The power plants that provide your home with energy release massive amounts of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If you reduce your energy consumption at home, you will reduce the demand for energy from these power plants. As a result, the power plant in your community won’t need to generate as much energy to meet demand. The less energy the plant generates, the fewer greenhouse gases the plant will release into the atmosphere.
By leading an energy efficient lifestyle, you can shrink your carbon footprint and do your part to protect the planet.
Better Quality of Life
Many people assume that they will need to sacrifice their comfort in order to improve their energy efficiency, but that’s not true. In fact, improving the energy efficiency of your home can actually create a more comfortable and healthy living space for your family.
Why? An energy efficient home is well-ventilated and drier, which means there will be less of a risk of mold growth. Exposure to mold can affect the respiratory system and lead to long-term health issues, so preventing mold growth can help your family stay healthy.
Energy efficient homes are also well-insulated, so they will remain colder in the summer and warmer in the winter. You can stay comfortable all year long inside your energy efficient home!
How Can We Reduce Energy Consumption?
There are countless benefits to energy efficiency, so it’s not hard to see why living a greener lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular. If you’re ready to go green, follow these tips to reduce your energy consumption:
- Arrange a carpool with your co-workers so you can decrease the number of vehicles on the road and the amount of harmful carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.
- Always turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Replace the light bulbs in the five most frequently used light fixtures with energy efficient LED bulbs.
- Close the curtains in the summer to keep heat out of your home. In the winter, keep the curtains open during the day to let the heat in.
- Don’t run the dishwasher or washer unless you have a full load.
- Use the right-sized pot on stove burners. If you use a pot that is smaller than the burner, you can waste over 40% of the heat generated by the stove.
- Turn on ceiling fans in the summer so you don’t have to rely solely on your heating and cooling system to stay cool. In the winter, reverse the direction of the ceiling fan blades so they rotate clockwise. This will force the warm air near your ceiling down toward you.
As you can see, there’s no need to completely transform your life in order to become more energy efficient. Following these simple tips will allow you to enjoy the many benefits of living an energy efficient lifestyle without sacrificing your comfort or reducing the quality of your life!