Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its new green homes Web site. The site provides an interactive experience that helps people make their homes greener with tips on reducing energy consumption, carbon footprints, waste generation and water usage, as well as improving indoor air quality.
While I've already made some improvements to my home energy efficiency, I know there's more I can do. After exploring the new Web site, I learned for the first time these interesting tips that will help me save more energy and money at home.
- The outdoor porch or post lamp is one of the highest used light fixtures in a home and is a perfect place to install ENERGY STAR® lighting products. Many compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will easily fit into existing porch lights.
- Proper ventilation of the attic with natural air flow keeps the roof deck cool and dry, extending the life of roof shingles and preventing ice dams without using the energy needed to run an attic vent fan.
- The bathroom vanity is one of the highest-use fixtures in the average home. ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs provide bright, warm light, use less energy, and generate less heat than standard lighting.
- ENERGY STAR-qualified bathroom ventilation fans are much quieter than standard models. Models that include lighting use 70% less energy on average than standard models, saving more than $60 in electricity over the life of the fan. Running your fan for 15 minutes after showering controls moisture in the air and mold and mildew growth.
- Use the right-sized pot on stove burners. A 6" pot on an 8" burner wastes over 40% of the burner's heat. Also, cover pots and pans to keep heat in. Using the right-sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 annually for an electric range, or $18 for gas.
- Use your microwave or toaster oven to reheat or cook small portions. You can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80% when using your microwave for small portions.
- Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading them in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off—the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest.
Also, be on the lookout for soon-to-be-announced details about rebates from your state or territory for the purchase of new ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances. Under this program, eligible consumers can receive rebates to purchase new energy-efficient appliances when they replace used appliances.
Chris Stewart is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.