Posts Tagged energy saving tips

Landscaping Tips for energy saving

Did you know that trees positioned strategically can save up to 25% of a household’s energy consumption? If not, you would do well to remember that landscaping may be your best long-term investment for bringing down your cooling and heating costs. So, if you are struggling with rising power bills, it’s time to consider landscaping tips for energy-efficient homes.

 

Consider the climate

Due to its large size, different regions in the state of Texas have different climates, which could vary from humid in the east to arid in the west. Since landscaping strategies for conserving energy depend on the region you live in, you need to consider the climate and plan accordingly. For example, people living in hot-arid regions should provide shade to cool walls, roofs, and windows; use evapotranspiration by plants around the home to cool the surrounding air; and channel summer winds towards homes etc. However, people living in hot-humid zones should plan differently and maximize summer shade with trees that permit penetration of winter sun even with a low-angle; allow summer breeze to get easy access to homes; and avoid having planting beds near homes if they need frequent watering.

 

Check your microclimate

Microclimate is the climate immediately adjacent to your home. The microclimate of your home may be more shady, sunny, windy, rainy, moist, or dry than average local conditions. For example, if your home is positioned on a sunny southern slope, it may boast of a warm microclimate, even when you stay in a cool region. So, assessing your microclimate is crucial to determine the type of plants that may or may not grow in that particular location.

 

Design and orientation of your home

If you are building a new home, ensure that it’s well-designed and well-oriented so that it rejects overhead summer sun, allows low-angle winter sun, and minimizes the winter winds’ cooling effect. You should also consider your location’s exposure to sun, water, wind etc, and note the proximity and location of nearby buildings, trees, water bodies, fences, and pavements, while assessing their probable climatic effects.

In case your home is already built, consider shading and wind protection to bring down your electric bills.

 

Shading and wind protection

Before planting trees and shrubs for shade, assess your exact needs. If you need warm sunlight during the winter while enjoying shade in the summer, opting for deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the winter would be a good idea. However, for enjoying a year-round shade, lush evergreens would be the ideal choice. You should avoid planting dense foliage in close proximity to your home as such a step may cause moisture-control problems.

You can use shrubs and trees with low crowns to offer you windbreaks that would block winds close to the ground. Proper landscaping will not only let you enjoy excellent wind protection, but also reduce your heating costs considerably. Though the most common category of windbreak employs shrubs and evergreen trees planted to the northwest and north of a home, you may even use bushes and shrubs along with a fence, wall, or earth berm (man-made or natural walls or raised regions of soil) that can redirect or lift the wind over your home.

 

So, use these tips to make your home energy-efficient, thus decreasing your power costs.

 

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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Save energy with CFL & Lighting Tips

Though making your home shine bright by installing and using outdoor lights, indoor lamps, and holiday strings is a good idea, the entire thing can often become quite expensive as a lot of electricity is consumed by these artificial lighting equipments. But if you thought that saving energy means sacrificing the use of such lighting choices, think again. With some day lighting plans and the right choice of lighting equipments, you can make your home bright and beautiful without sacrificing on the comfort and visibility quotient

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Here are some simple tips to save electricity and decrease your lighting bills:

 

  • Use the power of the sun: Sunlight is the most energy- and cost-efficient lighting as it’s free. So, make sure that your windows facing north and south allow day lighting, which in turn could save you a lot of energy and money.

 

  • Install ENERGY STAR windows: Installation of such windows will help you to maintain a desired temperature indoors, by blocking as much as 70% of the solar heat in summer. During the winter season, such windows will reflect heat indoors, thus keeping your indoors warm and comfortable.

 

  • Use LED and CFL light bulbs: Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are considered to be efficient bulbs as they emit light only in one direction and save energy. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are also a good choice as they consume 25% to 30% lesser energy as compared to what incandescent light bulbs use.

 

  • Employ lighting controls: Setting up automatic devices like timers, dimmers, and motion-sensors can estimate your needs and adjust the lights accordingly, which makes them an excellent way to control your energy use when you are not at your home or present in a room.

 

  • Decrease background lighting: Rather than lighting large areas that don’t need to be illuminated, you can use floor lamps, table lamps, track lights etc to concentrate your lighting on specific areas, thus controlling your electricity consumption.

 

  • Use energy-efficient lights: You should replace energy-wasting lights with energy-efficient models. While the former usuallytrap light inside the fixtures, the latter push more light out into the room, thus improving both efficiency and illumination.

 

  • Ensure proper maintenance of your lighting fixtures: With age and the accumulation of dirt, dust and grime on the surface, your lamps and lighting fixtures may start performing at 50% or lower than their full capacity, while they continue to consume 100% of the energy. So, ensure proper maintenance of yourlamps and lighting fixtures to avoid paying steep electric bills.

 

 

With these tips, you can reduce your lighting bills considerably.

 

 

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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Energy saving tips for your freezer and refrigerator

Did you know that in your household, your freezer and refrigerator are two of the biggest energy consumers? If not, it’s time to look closer and adhere to energy efficient practices to bring down your energy consumption, thus decreasing your utility bills. Though the present day models of freezers and refrigerators are very energy efficient, the same can’t be told about their older counterparts. Still, if you possess an ENERGY STAR approved model of a refrigerator from the 1980s, you could end up saving as much as $100 each year on your electricity bills. Similarly, a fridge from the 1970s with ENERGY STAR approval can help you save more than $200 a year. So, for all those Texas electricity consumers looking to bring down their utility bills, here are some tips for your freezers and refrigerators:

 

  • Clean the coils: There should be regular cleaning and maintenance of the refrigerator/freezer coils. Keeping them dust free is absolutely necessary for energy efficient usage. In case you have pets in home, dander may get deposited on the coils, which may require you to clean them more frequently.
  • Using a scientific approach to store in the freezer/refrigerator: The deviceworks on the basic principle of having to cool the space inside. Hence, more the space, more air the device has to cool and thus, more energy is consumed. Therefore, storing the freezer/refrigerator adequately, so that there is less of ‘free air’ for the device to waste its energy on can help you limit your energy usage. Experts advise that in case you don’t have enough material to stock inside your freezer/ refrigerator, you can fill up bowls of water and place inside. Water pouches can also be used for the same purpose.
  •  Defrost freezer on time: Unless you own a frost-free unit, you should defrost your freezerthe moment you spot the development of frost beyond half an inch, as it can increase power consumption of the freezer.
  • Check the door seals of your freezer: To limit power consumption, your freezer door should be air tight. You can check this by closing the door of your freezer on a dollar bill. In case you are able to pull out the bill easily, you might need a new latch or seal.
  • Adhere to the right temperature settings: Setting your freezer or refrigerator at the right temperature is the ideal way to minimize wastage of electricity. Hence, don’t set the temperature too high or too low. Ideally, your refrigerator’s fresh food section should have its temperature at 37° to 40° while the freezer section can be set at 5°.
  • Position of the freezer/ refrigerator: Location of the freezer orrefrigerator decides the pattern of its future power consumption. It should be made sure that the location where the device has been put up has a good circulation of air. No hindrance in air flow should be allowed, in case they are situated in some closed space, for example, in between two cupboards.  Freezers or refrigerators should not be kept close to other electrical appliances like ovens, microwaves, stoves, or even close to windows. Heat emanated from such cooking appliances like stoves can increase their power consumption. It is ideal to select the coolest spot for these devices.     

 

By following these tips, energy efficiency of the refrigerator or freezer can be increased manifolds. It is indeed righteous to become aware and enlightened to adhere to such tips as they can help you curb wastage of electricity, thus letting you conserve energy.

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas.

Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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Home energy use audit – some questions to ask

Did you know that of all homes constructed prior to 1980, just 20% are well insulated? To bring down your energy costs, it becomes crucial to seal doors and windows, add insulation, and take other necessary steps. With the energy scenario in Texas becoming a talking point among administrators and homemakers alike, and the imminent possibilities of power outage and grid failure due to excessive power consumption, it becomes more important that Texas residents do their bit to conserve electricity.

 

Home energy usage audit

Since it may seem like a daunting task to pin-point areas where your power consumption is more, or locate instances where you can cut down on your consumption, doing a home energy use audit can come to your rescue.

 

General Home Information

You can begin by asking yourself some general questions, which may include:

  • When was your home constructed?
  • Your home belongs to which category – Apartment/Condo, or Single Family?
  • On each side of your home, how many windows are there?
  • Do your home has broken or cracked windows/doors?
  • How many outside doors does your home have?
  • Are your doors insulated?
  • Do your doors and windows leak air, or do they seal tightly?
  • Do you have ceiling and wall insulation in your home?

Answering these questions will help you target the problem areas, which if repaired, can help you reduce your electricity bills.

 

Heating/Cooling Systems

Almost 43% of your utility bills are attributed to running heating and cooling systems. With simple steps like setting your thermostat at 78° F or higher in the summer and 68° F or lower in the winter can help you save precious dollars on your utility bills. Here are some questions to ask during your home energy audit to find out how much of energy your heating/cooling systems are consuming:

  • What type of heating and cooling system do you use?
  • What fuel does your heating/cooling system use? (you can pick your answer from oil, electricity, natural gas, and propane)
  • What’s the age of your heating system?
  • Do you use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature?
  • During the heating or cooling season, what are your thermostat settings?
  • During summer, do you use fans in place of air conditioning?

 

Water Heating

In your home, the third largest energy expense is attributed to water heating. You can cut down water heating bills with some simple steps like insulating your water heater, using less hot water, keeping the water heater’s thermostat down, or by purchasing a more efficient model.

Some questions related to water heating systems, which you should answer during your home energy use audit include:

  • What type of fuel is used to heat water in your home?
  • What’s the age of your water heater?
  • What’s the temperature at which your water heater is set?
  • Are the pipes and your water heater insulated?

Clothes washers, refrigerators, and clothes dryers are some other appliances that consume a lot of energy. So, you should try to buy appliances with ENERGY STAR labels as they are more efficient than other products.

So, use the above questionnaire to perform an effective home energy use audit, which would help you get started on steps for cutting down your electricity bills.

 

 

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas.

Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at www.ShopTexasElectricity.com

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