gentle updraft, which forces warm air near
the ceiling down into the occupied space.
(See “How to select a ceiling fan” sidebar.)
Up to 75 percent of the electricity used to
power home electronics is consumed while the
products are turned off. According to the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE), power continues to run through your home electronics even
when you have them turned off—yes, even the
coffee maker. If 60 percent of your energy bill
is electricity, it’s easy to imagine how much you
can save as a result of some simple unplugging.
Among the most common household
devices that consume electricity while not in
operation are computers, TVs, cable
boxes, cellphone chargers and other
power adapters, and anything else with
a microchip that requires at least some
juice to keep its inner clock ticking.
Unplugging these devices if they’re
not used regularly can save energy.
Change your lights
Replacing traditional light bulbs
with new LEDs (light-emitting diodes) can
reduce your energy usage. LEDs provide the
same amount of light while requiring less
energy than older lights. They are now available in many styles, including floodlights.
Check with your local energy company
to see if it offers free professional audits. If it
does not, the representative should be able to
recommend an agency that will. A professional audit will give you a more accurate
assessment than one you do on your own.
Use Energy Star–compliant
Devices and appliances, such as computers, printers, refrigerators, fans and air
conditioners, that meet Energy Star requirements use less energy. They do this by smart
design and by automatic “sleep” functions
that turn down the machines when they’re
not in use. The Energy Star label can now be
found on dozens of products for business
and home use.
There’s an added bonus to adopting
these energy-saving tips and reducing your
utility bill: These actions also help to protect the environment. Expect to save
about 20 percent annually on total
energy costs, while being a good
Energy Star, which is a
joint program of the EPA
and the DOE, offers more
energy-saving tips for homes
on its website, www.energystar.
THE ENERGY-SMART HOME OFFICE
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 71
Assess your savings potential
If you are interested in energy savings but
don’t know where to start, performing a
home energy audit is a good first step. It will
help you prioritize your energy upgrade
needs and give you a better understanding of
how you and your home consume energy. A
good energy auditor will uncover any air
leaks or insulation problems and recommend
energy-saving products. The Department of
Energy provides a free do-it-yourself plan at
energy.gov/energysaver/articles/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits, or go to the DOE Office
of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
www.eere.energy.gov and search
“home energy audit.”
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