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Fuel prices have soared. Electric rates are volatile. And it's hard to ignore the economic and market uncertainties in the leading oil-producing countries. In the wake of all this, "energy efficient" is becoming more than just a buzzword; it's a way of life for a growing number of homeowners who embrace sustainable living. It is possible to trim costs without significantly affecting your lifestyle—check out these 24 smart ideas for saving energy in your home.
A programmable thermostat can save you more than $100 a year in energy costs by helping you avoid unneeded heating or cooling while you're away from home or sleeping. One option is a VisionPRO touch-screen Honeywell thermostat.
Landscaping can help save energy. Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your house. In summer, the leaves will shade your house; in winter, the bare branches will let the sun through for added warmth.
Ceiling fans are a great way to conserve electricity year-round. They are economical and efficient, and they use about the same amount of energy as a 100-watt light bulb. In summer, set your fan to spin counterclockwise, then set your thermostat a few degrees higher to save as much as 40 percent on your cooling bills. In winter, switch fan blades to spin clockwise and save up to 10 percent on your heating bills.
Find out if you own energy hogs by monitoring how much energy your appliances use. A Watts-Up or Kill-a-Watt meter can determine how much power appliances use.
Find the meters at www.safehomeproducts.com
Gone are the buzzing bulbs that cast a sickly glow over faces. Today's compact fluorescent light bulbs are available in more than 200 colors, and they're quiet. These fluorescent lights use one-fifth to one-third the electricity of a comparably bright incandescent bulb—and last 10-20 times longer. When you consider that lighting accounts for one-fifth of a home's electric bill, CFLs are close to being a no-brainer.
A dimmer switch lets you reduce lighting when you don't need it, and occupancy sensors turn lights off after you leave a room.
Motion sensors save energy, and you get affordable security that never rests.
That "hot water for whites" laundry rule is bunk. Use cold water and a cold-water detergent, and save.
Save money and energy: Don't use the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher.
A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch stove burner wastes more than 40 percent of the burner's heat.
Choose Earth-friendly products that used the minimum amount of energy to get to you. Consider that tile shipped from Italy travels halfway around the world; tile shipped from a local company uses much less energy as it moves from its source to you.
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