Energy efficiency is becoming much more important in a world where we must be conscious of our resources. With the start of a new year, we can take this chance to refresh our outlook on energy usage. The average home uses 38% of its total energy usage on heating per year. There are many little things you can do to conserve energy and lower your utility bill when it comes to heating and air conditioning. Stay conscious of these little pieces of advice.
The sun can contribute heating in the winter but force air conditioners and fans to work harder -- and use more energy -- in the summer. During winter months, you can take advantage of sunlight by opening your curtains during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your home. During warmer months, use shades or blinds to keep the heat out by closing them during the day. In particular, shade west-facing windows. Using sunlight can also reduce the need to use overhead lights, lamps and other types of artificial light.
For times that you are using heating and people are home, set your thermostat to 68°F for optimal energy efficiency. During nighttime, or when no one is in the house, turn the thermostat down about 8 degrees. When the house will be empty for at least 24 hours, turn the temperature down to between 50 and 55°F. Having a programmable thermostat with Energy Star certification could save about 10% on your heating an cooling costs – this allows you to reset your thermostat when your are asleep or away from home.
General upkeep of your home is also important for energy efficiency. If you replace just one windowpane in your house with an energy-efficient one, the new window prevents heat from escaping in the window during the winter. The same principal holds for the summer – cold air is held in and warm air is kept out.