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5 Cool Strategies to Lower Your Energy Footprint

5 Cool Strategies to Lower Your Energy Footprint

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.

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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[1] 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.[2] The higher the number, the more negative the situation is. Some of the main approaches of reducing this figure include:

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  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Afforestation
  • 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[3] can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars every year. Some benefits of home insulation include:

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  • 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.[4] 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[5] 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[6] 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.[7]

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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[8] 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.[9] 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.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1]http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-easy-hacks-that-could-save-you-energy-and-money-home.html
[2]http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/energy-footprint.html
[3]https://www.ukpower.co.uk/energy-saving-advice
[4]http://www.energystar.gov/
[5]https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=10271&src_Residential_Energy_Consumption_Survey_28RECS%29-f1
[6]http://www.acrepairbatonrouge.org/everything-need-know-commercial-hvac/
[7]https://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/03/7-ways-reduce-electricity-bill/
[8]http://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/
[9]http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/23/10-easy-ways-to-keep-energy-costs-down

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

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1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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