Energy Efficiency in the home
As a collective we are all responsible for the state in which our environment now exists and it only makes sense that we also be responsible for undoing this damage in any way that we can.
Global energy consumption is a major contributor to our planets environmental troubles as fossil-fuel exploration and extraction lead to the depletion of natural resources, combustion of energy results in the emission of greenhouse gases, inefficient homes waste up to 40% of energy annually while the transportation of energy has caused catastrophic environmentally hazardous leaks and spills.
Energy systems such as solar and wind powered systems are significantly healthier forms of generated electricity which can also be implemented into the home. However in most cases these systems are not practical or even possible.
All forms of generated power have an impact on the environment, we can only do our best to become more aware of what we can do at home to reduce waste and make the effort to conserve the environment and protect our planet.
eco ENERGY Evaluations
The best place to start in becoming more energy efficient is to participate in a home eco ENERGY evaluation. These tests give you an energy efficiency report card and can significantly help you reduce your environmental footprint and save you money!
Energy Canada Ltd.Are an example of certified energy evaluators that can perform such an evaluation which are then presented to government authorities to potentially qualify for certain government grants. Their evaluation (as by their web site) follows a format that includes:
- Annual energy costs for the house
- Where your house loses heat over the year
- Efficiency of the heating and cooling equipment
- Estimated energy savings for each part of the home
- Energy consumption estimates before and after you have completed the improvements
- Insulation (basement/main walls/attic)
- Heating and Cooling system
- Domestic Water Heater
- Air Leakage Control
- Water Conservation
By completing an eco ENERGY evaluation you will be better aware of the beneficial changes you can make at home to become energy efficient. This evaluation is also an excellent way to determine which energy source is best for you!
How to Choose the Right Energy System for Your Home
The first step in choosing an energy source for your home is to determine your needs. It is thoroughly advised that you conduct an eco ENERGY evaluation. This type of evaluation will give you insight into where you can make improvements in your home to reduce wasted energy.
ENERGY STAR is an international identification symbol representing products that have been approved as being the most energy efficient. This is an incredibly easy way for consumers to identify products that will help reduce their environmental footprint.
Manufacturers and companies who bare this symbol do so because they have met a strict criteria set forth by ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR rated products help consumers save money on their energy bills and also help the environment become cleaner as well.
For more information on ENERGY STAR please visit their web site!
Types of Energy Systems for the Home
The selection and implementation of efficient energy systems in the home according to Natural Resources Canada is based on several factors such as energy availability, cost of equipment and installation and the effect it has on the environment.
For the most part home owners have the choice of energy sources such as:
- Natural gas
- Solar Power
- Wind Power
The next step in selecting the right energy source for your green home is the availability of such resources. Not everyone has the access to such sources as natural gas, solar and wind power. Evaluate which system is most available to you and make sure that it is as energy efficient as possible.
Cost of Energy System and Installation
We all have our limits where budgets are concerned so obviously not all energy sources will be ideal for yours.
When making your decision you need to evaluate the actual cost of the system and installation as well as the annual operating cost for that system. Do not be fooled with the inexpensive systems that will end up costing you a fortune at the end of the month! Spending more on an efficient system will end up saving you money in the long run.
For a more detailed report on how to evaluate the cost of energy systems please visit the web site of Natural Resources Canada.
Of course one of the most important aspects to consider when implementing a new or retrofitting an energy system is the overall impact it will have on our fragile environment.
It is extremely important to purchase a system that has been qualified by Energy Star to have the highest energy efficient capabilities as possible. Purchasing such a product will not only conserve our natural resources and reduce greenhouse gasses but it will also save you a lot of money!
Energy Efficient Programmable Thermostats
One of the easiest ways to become more energy efficient is by installing a programmable thermostat into your home! If you are unable to afford or change and replace your existing energy source, purchasing an ENERGY STAR rated thermostat is a great way you can play your part!
These thermostats can be found in most hardware stores and home building centers and are relatively inexpensive depending on the size and capabilities of the device.
In order for a programmable thermostat to qualify as ENERGY STAR they must have at least two programming abilities, one for weekdays and the other for weekends. They must also have at least four temperature settings as well.
According to Natural Resources Canada, "The easiest way to save heating dollars is to lower the temperature setting on your house thermostat. As a general rule, you will save 2 percent on your heating bill for every 1°C you turn down the thermostat overnight."
Tax Incentives and Breaks for Energy Efficiency
Both Canadian and American governments are creating green initiatives and tax credit programs to help the consumer make better choices for their home and the environment. To see how you can qualify for a "e;green grant"e;or tax credit please visit the appropriate web sites below!
It is very important to become more aware of energy efficiency as its consumption is a leading contributor to our current environmental issues. Taking an eco ENERGY evaluation is a great way to actually know where to begin your efficiency process so as to not waste time, money and more energy by making the wrong changes and choices.
Quite often simple things can be done to make significant changes in your energy consumption! Not all of these suggestions are expensive, so find out what you can do and what you can afford. Every little bit counts!
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