Home energy conservation consists of a variety of methods that reduce a household's consumption. It may be employed both to save money on utility bills and to live, design, or build in an eco-conscious manner. A homeowner may tackle energy conservation from several areas, including heating and cooling, electricity and lighting, and even landscape design and upkeep. The range and scope of needed and desired changes is determined by an initial assessment.
Efficient insulation, heating, and cooling are integral to home energy conservation. A variety of techniques can lower utility bills, including sealing cracks where air enters and escapes, usually around window and door frames. Properly insulating attics, exterior walls, and foundations, among other areas, allows heating and cooling units to work less to maintain a comfortable temperature, causing less heat to enter during during the summer and escape in the winter.
Electricity also plays a key role in home energy conservation. This includes replacing older appliances like washing machines, computers, and dishwashers with newer models. The way these machines are used can also reduce energy use. For instance, a computer that sits idle for longer than two hours should be turned off. Setting washing machines to a single rinse or light wash also saves energy.
Lighting adjustments can lower electricity use even further. For instance, using task lighting instead of several smaller lights in a large area decreases energy output. Maximizing the use of daylight, installing CFL bulbs, and using dimmer controls, among other actions, can also allow for adequate lighting and lower electric bills.
Complete home energy conservation includes careful landscape planning and execution. Methods like xeriscaping encourage planting native species, limiting grass, and using efficient irrigation systems to save water. Planting large trees can reduce heat and cooling costs as well, since they act as windbreakers to keep the home warmer in the colder months and to provide shade to cool it during the warmer seasons.
Home energy conservation may begin with an assessment of the dwelling's current usage. A homeowner can calculate average monthly or annual usage by reviewing all utility bills from the last year. If average household energy use for the region is available either through local governments, utility companies, or websites, a cost comparison can be made to pinpoint where improvement is most needed. A conservation plan is then developed, with priority placed on areas with the highest energy loss, and sometimes, quickest, least expensive solutions.