As our new house is nearing completion, a lot of my brain space is spent on various ways to save money around the house. One way that really stands out in my books is energy conservation. Since Newfoundland has a fairly long cold season, it would make sense to maximize energy efficiency around the house. Not only does optimizing energy efficiency save money, it also helps my quest to become more green. I wonder if my neighbor would mind if I installed a windmill in my backyard… sorry, stray thought, back to the topic at hand.
From a pamphlet that my energy company mailed me, it showed that heat (electric) accounts for almost 60% of your entire heat bill. This is how energy usage broke down (in a colder area like NL):
- Home Heating ~ 60%
- Light ~ 5%
- Hot Water heater ~10%
- Washer/Dryer ~ 5%
- Other Appliances ~15%
Some ways to reduce hot water cost:
- Turn down your water heater temperature to 120F (but no lower).
- Install low flow shower heads.
- Use cold water to wash your clothes.
- Install an insulation blanket around water heater and insulate the hot water pipe.
- Instead of using a giant water heater that needs to remain heated all the time, consider installing a "on-demand" water heater. I don't have any experience with these, so I can't comment too much about them, but I like the theory behind them.
Some ways to reduce heating costs:
- Install gaskets around your electrical sockets.
- Caulk around the external dryer vent.
- Double check the weatherstripping and caulking around windows and doors.
- Install a programmable thermostat (~10% savings off heating bill).
- Install a ceiling fan and run it in reverse to help circulate the air (hot air tends to hang around the ceiling).
- Insulate the undeveloped basement – Uninsulated basements can result in 20-35% heat loss. Thus, it makes sense to spend a few dollars to insulate the basement properly where the payback will come back in no time.
Finally, it's apparent that appliances account for a fair chunk of energy usage. If you're going to buy new appliances, make sure to check out the Energuide ratings.
So you home owners out there, what have you done to help reduce your energy costs?