Although the U.S. has certainly ramped up its pursuit of alternative energy, nearly 67 percent of our nation's electricity was still generated through the use of fossil fuels as of 2015. While this represents a noticeable change over the course of the past several decades, there is still much to be done. As homeowners, we can do our part by reducing the overall energy consumption of our homes and embracing alternate forms of energy whenever possible, by using these tips.
1. Use Solar Power
With the implementation and usage of solar power experiencing a growth of 900 percent between the years of 2009 and 2015, it's safe to say that the trend is catching on. In fact, many homeowners are now turning to residential installations, also referred to as rooftop solar, as a means of capturing their own energy from the sun. In fact, similar rooftop solar installations currently account for 32 percent of all solar power generated in the state of California, which, incidentally, leads the nation in solar power generation.
In some cases, larger solar panel installations simply aren't a viable solution for all homeowners. However, this doesn't mean that you can't take advantage of solar power. Using rechargeable batteries, and charging them with a solar charger, can go a long way when trying to reduce your overall power consumption. Solar-powered chargers are also available for laptops, cell phones and other mobile devices.
2. Rely on Natural Sunlight Instead of Electric Lighting
Although most of us rely on electric lighting at night, those who live in sunny regions might be able to take advantage of daytime sunlight instead of their interior lights. Not only will this cut down your energy consumption and your electricity bill, but opening blinds or curtains to let in sunlight can even provide some amount of warmth.
For greater effect, try installing skylights in strategic positions throughout your home.
3. Avoid Indoor Appliances During the Summer
Generally speaking, the summer months give us plenty of opportunities to save energy by going outdoors. Grilling your lunch or dinner outside, for example, can save you the expense of using an indoor oven during the summer. Not only will this keep the inside of your home cool, but it will also cut down on your utility bills at the end of the month.
Conversely, clothes dryers can also be avoided during the summer months. Instead of drying your clothes indoors, install an outdoor clothesline. Apart from making your clothes smell fresh from the natural summer breeze, it can also have a dramatic effect on your overall energy consumption.
On the other hand, using such appliances during the winter months can actually have the reverse effect. Drying your clothes with a dryer will add extra heat to your home, as will cooking with an oven. Use this to your advantage in order to keep your bills at a minimum while still living comfortably.
4. Replace Old Doors and Windows
Replacing outdated doors and windows can also have an impact on your overall energy consumption.
Older doors and windows, particularly larger doors and windows that separate the outside from the inside of your home, have been known to release heat from your home during the winter and let in excess heat during the summer.
As such, this technique can work wonders when trying to reduce your overall energy consumption. Updating your doors and windows, as well as other fixtures throughout your home, can also go a long way in bolstering the resell value when the time comes.
5. Install New Insulation
According to some reports, more than 50 percent of the energy used by your home during the winter escapes through areas that are poorly insulated. While this is anything but efficient, there are a number of steps you can take in order to rectify the problem. Having new insulation installed by a professional, installing new drywall, and sealing vents or ducts with duct tape can bolster the energy efficiency of your home.
6. Unplug Electronics When Not in Use
While this might seem like an obvious one, it's a trick that many people forego. Television sets, DVD and Blu-Ray players, home stereos and even video game consoles all consume some amount of power, even when they're turned off and not in use. For the best results, all electronic devices should be unplugged when not in use. According to some sources, homeowners can save $174 on an annual basis by sticking to this simple tip.
Maintaining Energy Efficiency
Installing energy-efficient systems, hardware and devices throughout your home is great, but it only goes so far in the fight against environmental devastation. As such, it's important to maintain your home's level of energy and cost efficiency by performing routine inspections and replacing any worn, damaged or outdated materials as soon as they are found.
Author, Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.