Since the Stone Age, man has depended on various forms of energy to power their day to day activities. Some of this includes simple chores such as cooking, and some includes warming up to sophisticated industrial processes, such as mining and product manufacturing. The main point is, we rely on power derived from electricity, natural gas, wood, and fossil fuels to power most of our important routine activities.
In the modern-day conventional home, systems, installations, and appliances like air conditioners, light bulbs, refrigerators, dishwashers, dry cleaners, electronics, water heaters, and many others require power to run. In the process of energy production for most sources of power, we end up polluting our environment with carbon dioxide emissions.
One can admit that dealing with the situation requires resources, big minds, and concerted efforts of regions, states, and countries all over the globe. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you can do individually to contribute to the efforts of keeping the negative environmental impacts of energy down, and lower your energy utility bills in the process. So, what is this energy footprint, and what are some of the things you can do to lower it?
What Is Energy Footprint?
The official Global Development Research Center website states an energy footprint is defined as the measure of land that is required to absorb carbon dioxide emissions produced during energy consumption or production. The higher the number, the more negative the situation is. Some of the main approaches of reducing this figure include:
- Reducing energy consumption
- More reliance on renewable energy sources, such as the wind, and solar.
So, here are 5 cool strategies to lower your energy footprint you can personally adopt.
1. Home Insulation
Especially for homes and premises where cold climates are imminent, sealing and insulating the home can significantly reduce your energy requirements in terms of heating during the cold season. Adding home attic insulation, and sealing areas that attract potential air leaks can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars every year. Some benefits of home insulation include:
- Lowering the air conditioning needs
- Reducing energy costs
- Increasing the lifetime of HVAC systems
- May help reduce HVAC maintenance costs
2. Choose Energy-Efficient Home Appliances, Lighting, and Installations
Whenever buying home appliances such as cookers, dishwashers, heaters, and the like, be sure you pick energy-efficient models. These usually come with an Energy Star label, and are reputed for great power efficiency. They will help you keep your power costs down, and contribute to reducing the energy footprint. As for lighting, LED bulbs are more advisable when it comes to reducing your electricity bill. There are energy-efficient HVAC systems as well.
3. Watch Out For HVAC Systems and How You Use Them
According to a report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), heating and cooling accounted for approximately 48% of residential energy consumption in the U.S. in 2009. Even though it’s no longer the majority, this is still a relatively high number. In addition to insulating your home and choosing energy efficient HVAC systems, you can keep your heating and cooling requirements down by installing a programmable thermostat AC model. Proper maintenance will save you money from having to hire a commercial HVAC company down the line, should neglect rear its ugly head. Also, you don’t need to have the HVAC system on when you’re not at home. How you use your air conditioning system also has an impact.
4. Go for Cheaper, Renewable Energy Sources
Wind and solar have long been recognized as cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives. To keep your energy footprint down and save on your power bills, consider installing solar panels or invest in a wind energy project, and help save the planet from effects of carbon emissions. Some benefits of renewable energy include:
- They’re cheaper
- Little or no CO2 emissions
- Causing less environmental harm
- Can provide back-up power when main utility lines experience interruption
5. Plant Some Friendly Trees
According to U.S. News, planting trees can also help reduce your home’s energy costs. This is basically due to the fact that trees provide shade, which helps cool your home during warmer days, thus reducing your air conditioning and cooling system’s usage. Overall, trees are important in reducing the energy footprint long-term.
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