Understanding Energy Use
A home is a living, breathing thing. Full of appliances, technology and gadgets working 24/7 consuming energy while adding convenience to our daily lives - even when nobody is home. Residential energy consumption is the third largest use of energy in the U.S. and a portion of that energy use is actually wasted. Although many factors influence the amount of energy your home uses, you have the choice to modify that usage. Understanding the energy consumption of your home is key to effectively saving energy and money.
The conveniences of everyday life come at a price – to the consumers and the environment. Typically, around half of your energy bill comes from heating and cooling your home. Water heating comes next followed by laundry appliances, lighting, kitchen appliances, electronics and smaller appliances. The older the appliances are, the less energy efficient they are – which means more energy usage.
It’s obvious that appliances we use every day consume energy, but what’s less obvious are those appliances, electronics and gadgets that use energy even when they’re turned off. Often referred to as phantom energy or “vampire electronics,” this equipment, even though turned off or on standby, continues to draw power when it’s still plugged into the outlet.
Examples of vampire electronics include set-top boxes, computers, printers, DVD players, routers, gaming consoles, TVs and microwaves.
Cutting phantom energy not only helps with your yearly utility bill, but also with greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s how you can get rid of the phantoms and vampires in your house:
- Plug electronics into power strips – Turn off the switch when not in use. Be more efficient by separating the power strips based on the frequency of use of the equipment.
- During vacations or absences away from home, consider unplugging everything. This will help save usage as well as protect your equipment in the event of a storm.
- To get more in-depth in your usage, purchase or borrow a Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor to determine your worst energy offenders.
- Consider replacing old or buying new ENERGY STAR certified appliances to use less energy overall.