One thing about drying clothes in the house – if the house is sealed enough to be energy efficient – you are releasing a lot of moisture into the house. When I lived in Europe, the clothes drying setup tended to be in the attic in older houses (beyond the insulation) or in a basement where casement windows could be opened to vent the moisture. Also, houses without clothes dryers usually have a “pressing closet,” with a bit of heat and moisture to ease any stiffness out of the line-dried clothes. Ours was built around the water heater – probably wouldn’t work with a modern one!
According to LG Electronics, who makes washers and driers (among other things), "heating the water in the wash drum accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses." While most of us know that washing our clothing on the cold water setting will reduce energy costs, the amount was higher than I expected. I've always washed my clothing on cold out of pure laziness—because cold water won't cause colors to run quite so easily and that means you don't have to separate lights and darks. On top of saving energy, using a cold wash reduces the amount of work you have to do.
I read on this blog last year about making some makeshift curtains from emergency blankets and tension curtain rods. Because I live in a short-term rental, I didn’t want to shell out alot of money for blackout curtains, so I bought the tension curtain rods at a yard sale and some of the space blankets and set them up in the windows where the hottest sun comes in. Even on 90 degree plus days, I haven’t used my air conditioning once. I have used it one day when the outside air temp hit over 100, but even then I could have it set warmer than I usually do. Also moving all cooking outside with electric appliances such as a toaster oven (I have even used it to make pies) and maybe an electric skillet or burner an radically reduce cooling needs if you have an outside outlet. My electric bills are nearly half what they were last year.
Finally, use a good detergent. You might not think this matters much, but some detergents actually do a better job of getting stubborn food off of your dishes. I've tested many and, in my personal experience, Quantum Finish and Miele are most effective (though Quantum Finish almost always costs less). Both clean aggressively without the harsh effects (and ultimately damage) caused by some soaps.
When pre-washing your dishes in the sink, your goal isn't to remove all signs of food. If it were, you wouldn't need a dishwasher in the first place. You need to worry about pieces of food, and simply leave any food residue for the machine. If you like to be extra clean and thorough, you may want to wash more. Remember that pre-washing dishes requires water, and if you're constantly running water for a longer period you're likely wasting it.
Many utility companies have plans set up that offer discounts for switching some of your power usage to off-peak times. The hours and times differ slightly depending upon what part of the country you're in, and each plan is set up a little differently. If you're willing to shift a significant portion of your energy usage to outside the peak times, you certainly can save money.
The Entertainment system is the most energy sucking system I have; huge tv with several video game, music and DVD systems plugged in. These are plugged into a wall outlet that is controlled by a switch. When I’m leaving the room, the switch goes off and the power to the appliances are killed — the TV (while turned off) alone eats enough power to power my desktop computer.
The takeaway here is simple. As is the case in Washington and Iceland, if a state or country has an abundance of natural resources, it should take advantage of them to drive down the price of a kWh to attract businesses. Diversification is especially essential where possible. Without businesses and industries paying to draw power from the electrical grid, the local economy stagnates.
A feed-in tariff (FIT) is an energy-supply policy that supports the development of renewable power generation. FITs give financial benefits to renewable power producers. In the United States, FIT policies guarantee that eligible renewable generators will have their electricity purchased by their utility. The FIT contract contains a guaranteed period of time (usually 15–20 years) that payments in dollars per kilowatt hour ($/kWh) will be made for the full output of the system.
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Perhaps my favorite aspect of the HiSense is how little noise it makes. While I certainly want an air conditioner in my home, I don't want to know that it's there — to that end, the quiet compressor and the cross-flow fan design results in a strong yet quiet airflow. If you have the fan set at its lowest level, you'll barely hear the unit. To get technical, it only reaches 47 dB(A) at this setting — for reference, libraries generally have a noise level of 40 dB(A).
Dallas area residents now have the option for choosing their electric provider. However, with all of the different plans that are available, it can be difficult to make the right decision for your particular electricity needs. You may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of options presented to you by all the electric company advertisements or concerned about shady marketing gimmicks.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses to keep water at that temperature, and more than $400 to bring fresh water up to that high temperature. To save even more money, you can turn your electric heater off or turn your gas heater down when you go on vacation to save even more.
Simply unplug these things when you aren’t going to use them for several hours or perhaps even days. (And, in the case of the AC or heating, turn it off when you are going to be out for awhile.) If you’re concerned this is too complicated for you, there are several energy-saving plugs out there that can help you to cut this standby electricity usage without you doing a thing.
I used this method, and with a programmable thermostat for my central air and heat, I was able to lower my bill to about $75. The only exception to this was I left my lamps plugged in. Everything else was unplugged as soon as I was done with it. Of course, I worked all day and no one was at home, either, but before I started, my bill ran around $125.
Many utility companies offer more than one time-of-use policies. These plans may have different hours classified as peak hours, or may even include some “partial-peak” hours that charge less than peak rates, but more than off-peak rates. Many rates will depend not only on the hour that you’re using electricity, but also the season. Summer rates are often higher than winter rates because of energy-intensive air conditioning systems running during hot days. You might also have a plan that has lower peak rates, or fewer peak hours, on the weekends.