by Marcus Gallon
(London, England, UK)
Saving money & the environment……now that’s a great idea!
For many homeowners, the two goals of securing cheap gas and electricity and becoming more ecologically friendly end up in opposition.
However, when one thinks about it, going green saves energy which should save money. Doing both at the same time simply requires a different mindset than that recommended by the green industry.
There are a number of ways to save on climate control costs. The first is to ensure that one’s climate control equipment is operating efficiently. Changing filters on a quarterly basis, at minimum, is an excellent way to do this. Given that filters can cost a little as a couple of pounds and that changing a clogged one can reduce heating or cooling costs by twenty percent, this is a change that can pay for itself in a month.
For cooling, consider using a fan which draws significantly less power than an air conditioner. Even better, given the cool climate here in England, one can simply open up opposing windows to create a cross breeze.
For heating, simply wearing warmer clothing around the house will enable one to turn the thermostat down, as will adding an extra blanket to the bed. A programmable thermostat which can be user installed and is, again, very inexpensive, can also significantly lower heating and cooling costs by shutting the system down when it is not needed, thus greatly reducing home energy costs.
One can also use, or avoid, solar power without an expensive photovoltaic array. Simply uncovering windows to allow the sun’s energy in, or covering them to keep it out can also significantly affect indoor temperatures.
Lighting is also a major source of energy expense as well as carbon footprint. Switching to compact flourescent lightbulbs is a very cost effective way to reduce energy usage by about 70%.
Reconfiguring lights to better cover a room can also make a difference in how much light is actually necessary. Directed task lighting can allow one to have a bright work surface while not having to pay to light an entire room. Finally, on a sunny day, one can benefit greatly by using the natural light of the sun as an adjunct to home lighting.
Another way to save significant cost is by transitioning to a dual fuel tariff for one’s gas and electricity. Since energy suppliers would prefer to do more business with each of their customers, they offer significant discounts for people who steer all of their energy delivery business to them.
One provider charges 21% less for people on a dual fuel tariff than they charge for gas and electricity separately. If one has an energy bill of 1000 pounds per year, that 210 pound savings could be used to purchase a number of green technologies, or to switch to a different energy supplier who has a greener mix of energy.
Combining this change with the energy saving heating, cooling and lighting practices already identified here can yield significant cost savings as well as significantly reducing one’s carbon footprint.