Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Green Tips & Tricks

Ive found it rather intriguing to take a look at this Green Energy perception that everyone has been so interested in for the last few years. Ive come across a few facts that might help out in adjusting to the new world.

First, if you get an fluorescent bulb, use it only in places where the light will stay on for extended periods of time, such as a bedroom, or in the kitchen. Don't use it in the bathroom, where you will be going in and out. Those fluorescent bulbs are most efficient when they run for long periods. When you see one turning on, you usually have to wait for the light to reach its peak brightness, and you might even hear a slight buzzing emanating from them. That's when you can start counting the savings in the electricity bill versus your ordinary incandescent bulbs.

Next up is this idea that turning lights off will save you money. This is true only if the lights you have on are incandescent lights. If you have florescent bulbs, your savings wont be very much. In fact, the life of that light will decrease as you turn it on and off. Which is why its a bad idea to turn florescent bulbs off. Ever hear about that at work? They always enjoy turning off the lights doesn't really save money. Its just a symbolic gesture. The HVAC system probably consumes 10 times the electricity that you were planning to save by turning off the lights. Plus, you just cut down the life of your bulbs by a fraction. Trust me, those lights are better off staying lit.

Finally, Id like to cover this notion of green labels for major electrical devices. If your central A/C unit in your attic is labeled "Green" or "Energy Efficient", that's a bunch of nonsense. A single unit probably consumes as much as 5 times the amount of electricity than a single room A/C unit. Why cool the entire house, if you are only using a few rooms of the house? Get room units, and cool portions of the house. You could close off vents for rooms than don't need cooling, but you're still using that huge A/C unit to cool your room, thereby consuming a lot of electricity to cool your room. Doesn't seem very "Green" to me.

Id like to add, as this has been an educational experience for me as well, a note on how to make your home energy efficient to beat the summer heat, and keep your bills down.

I suggest using digital thermostats to control your A/C units, this will save time and money for when you are in the house, and when you're not. Second, get a radiant barrier installed in your attic. It will help to keep the heat out by a lot. The drop in temperature in the attic, will help the A/C unit work less, and save you electricity. Third, get Solar Attic fans: they keep the attic cool, again to save the A/C from working hard, and it will have an effect on keeping your home cool as well. Fourth, make sure you're A/C evaporator (outside) sits in the shade. If it sits in the sun all day, two things will happen. Water will condense on the outside of the cooling fins, and accelerate the rusting process of the evaporator, and the A/C system will have to work harder to keep the house cool. Finally, although it sounds a bit bizarre, I suggest closing all your blinds in the home during the day, especially if you have white blinds, they do act as a radiant barrier to keep the heat out. Ive noticed the temperature on the second floor hovers around 79F with the blinds closed, and can climb as high as 85F with some blinds open, and that's with the weather outside bordering on 105F, and the A/C set to 75F. So it does make a difference.

I hope the advice helps, I know its helped me.

Useful Links:

Discovery News

This Old House

This Old House, New Green Technologies