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Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency

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Tip 1: Know Your Loads

The first step on the renewable path is to get familiar with how much energy your household uses and identify where your energy dollars are going. Take a look at a year's worth of your energy bills. Determine how much energy is used for space and water heating, air conditioning, and other electrical loads.

Depending upon where you live, you may find certain seasonal trends that lead to increased energy consumption. For most of us, space conditioning consumes the most energy and generally warrants the most attention when it comes to efficiency efforts. Water heating is typically the second largest home energy user.

Typical Household Energy Uses

Space Heating

Other 10%

Cooking

Space Heating

Other 10%

Cooking

Washer/ Dryer

Electronics

Water Heating

Space Cooling 11%

Lighting 12%

Courtesy www.eere.energy.gov

Washer/ Dryer

Electronics

Water Heating

Space Cooling 11%

Lighting 12%

Point-of-use energy monitors allow you to determine which of your appliances are efficient, and which of them aren't. In addition, whole-house electric energy monitors can conveniently report instantaneous and daily kilowatt-hour consumption via a handy display. Both are excellent tools to help put electric use into perspective and will help you track your overall reduction efforts. However, you probably already have a meter provided by the electric company that can also give you useful information (many will display both instantaneous power and total energy)—you just need to read it.

Point-of-use energy monitor.

Electric appliances also can account for a sizable portion of your overall energy consumption and have a large impact on a renewable electricity system's size and cost. For 120-volt electrical appliances, measuring energy use with a digital power meter, such as the Brand Electronics, Watts Up?, or Kill A Watt, will help you determine actual consumption and prioritize which appliances need to be replaced with more efficient units (see Access).

Courtesy www.eere.energy.gov

Tip 2: Adopt RE-Ready Habits

Simply being aware of what appliances are in use, and what needs to be used and when, can help you adjust habits to minimize household energy use. Learn to read your electric meter so that you can see how much power you're using at any given time or how much energy was consumed over a period of time.

The most efficient practices are those that don't require any extra energy input, such as hanging clothes to dry on a clothesline. The next tier of efficiency is to install the most efficient technology and minimize use. For example, wash clothes in a front-loading washer with a high "modified energy factor" rating, dry for only a few minutes (or not at all) in the clothes dryer, and hang until completely dry. Take advantage of passive cooling techniques to minimize or even eliminate the need for air conditioning. In many climates, opening the windows at night and closing windows and shades in the morning to keep the sun out, along with using ceiling or floor fans, can be an effective cooling strategy.

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