Fort Lauderdale, FL (PressExposure) May 26, 2009 -- 5. Unplug appliances you don't often use
According to the U.S. Department of Energy appliances and electronics account for about 20% of your total energy bills. A lot of this comes from what is known as "phantom loads." TVs that power up instantly are a great example. Even when you aren't using them they are still drawing current, increasing your monthly bills, and using valuable resources. If you don't use it, unplug it.
4. Heat and cool your property efficiently
Heating and cooling are responsible for over half of energy use. This can be reduced greatly by a few simple, one-time activities. Insulating your house better, using a programmable thermostat, and placing heat-resistant radiator reflectors between the radiator and wall are all great ways of reducing your consumption.
3. Go Green
Adding a bit of greenery to your property will reduce your cooling costs in the summer months, particular for those of us in warmer climates. There are two great methods. Plant tress to shade your home; this will lower the natural temperature of your property, meaning you need less A.C. to get comfortable. Next, plant some shrubs, bushes, or vines next to your house. This creates dead air space that acts as nature's own insulator, keeping that good air in.
2. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
This is the single easiest method of reducing your energy costs. Light bulbs have progressed a long way since their creation in the 1800s and are continually improving. Roughly 90% of the power used by incandescent light bulbs is spent generating heat rather than light. This is why new bulb technologies, such as CFLs and LEDs are quickly replacing incandescent in popularity. Some nations have even begun phasing out incandescent entirely.
1. Let the Pros Handle It
I've followed all of the advice in this post. However, I took the easy road. A quick conversation with my gardener (thanks Manny!) got me the natural shading and dead air space, while my kids handled unplugging electronics not being used. However, the single most useful experts were the folks at Superior Lighting (they can be found at http://www.superiorlighting.com). After a quick conversation they suggested complete lighting solutions for my Ft. Lauderdale home. Now my house shines with a whole array of compact fluorescents, xenon halogen bulbs, and great LED entry lights. Thanks guys. I suggested anyone who wants to reduce their energy consumption talk to Superior Lighting and see what they can do for you. The whole process was easy, and I am already seeing the savings in my electric bills.