This instructable is to be entered into the Efficiency contest. I decided to go with a different approach than some of the other instructables i saw for this contest; i will look at all the ways you can save electricity in your household with out any devices. This will help inform you to better use the electricity in your house with more awareness thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint and bettering the world one house at a time.
The best and maybe the hardest thing about following my instructable is that you need these 2 things:
Getting yourself isn't to hard but dedicating yourself to doing each of these things every single day is a tough one.
Step 1: Slay the Vampires
The electronics that take the most electricity in your house are the vampires. These are devices that don't have an actual off button and take electricity constantly think you turn them off when they are really in stand-by mode and continue to use electricity. These vampires include:
- Power supplies, transformers and inefficient electronic devices.
- VCRs, DVD players and some audio systems.
- TVs and Set-top boxes
- Microwave ovens
- Computers, digital monitors and printers
- Air conditioning systems with remote control.
- Devices with "Instant on" functions, with remote control receivers, or waiting for the user to interact.
- Devices with a stand-by light or clock.
- Power adapters (such as wall warts), whether they are powering a device or not.
- Some home video game consoles (e.g. Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 & Sony PlayStation 3)
Here is the vampire chart from the Department of Energy:
HOW TO SOLVE IT
Now how to solve the problem of the vampires. There are many ways you can go about this.
1) Surge Protector
Plug all the devices that are vampires into a surge protector and when you are done using said devices don't flip the switch on the item, flip it on the power strip. You can get a surge protector at most all purpose stores such as Walmart or order them online.
2) Unplug It!
This correlates with the previous method but is better used for devices in the kitchen or places that have plug sockets in easy reach; it is to simply unplug the devices when you don't use them. A very good example is the mircrowave. How often do you really look at the time? Unplug it.
3) Super Surge Protector
The easiest but most expensive route is to get yourself a auto switching surge protector. Basically what they do is turn themselves off when a device plugged in goes into standby mode. One of the name brand auto switching surge protectors is the Smart Strip.
Step 2: Blinded by the Light
Another big problem in the household is lights. Light is defined as an electromagnetic radiation, particularly radiation of a wavelength that is visible to the human eye They are what help us see and what tend to be on the most. The show us the way. But these grand electrical devices can really hurt our wallets and the environment. They get left on and are usually used unnecessarily.
There are many kinds of light bulbs:
-High-intensity discharge (HID)
The most common kind is the Incandescent, the kind with the little wire in it that lights up. This is the cheapest approach to light bulbs but it takes the most electricity. The other kind that is available in stores is the Fluorescent. This kind has a carefully balanced gas inside it that lights up when electricity hits it. Fluorescent lasts longer and uses a good amount less of electricity, but it takes longer to light up and it isn't as bright.
HOW TO SOLVE IT
There are various ways to fix the problem of wasting money and energy through light:
1) Solar Power:
I am not talking about getting some solar panels. Whenever you can open up the blinds in your house and turn out all the lights. This isn't always practical like at night or on a stormy day but do it as often as you can. You can get your vitamin D from the sun.
2) Purchase Fluorescent Light Bulbs:
This may seem expensive at first replacing all the incandescent light bulbs in your house with fluorescent ones but in the long run it is worth it. As i said above the flourescent light bulbs use less electricity and last longer than incandescent. Do this one for the team.
3) Turn It Off
You can save a lot of electricity if you just remember to turn the light off after you leave a room. Practice it, turn your light on then turn it off and leave the room. Repeat as nescessary. Remember it costs more to leave your light on then to turn it off and just come back and turn it back on real quick.
Step 3: Turn Up the Heat
The one thing that seems to be the easiest and nicest way to heat or cool your home is the air conditioner and heater. Now not all of you may have one, you can skip this but if you do read this section diligently. The thermostat is what controls the heat and cooling of your house and i will inform you how to use it to the best of it's ability and save you some money and energy.
There are two things your can thermostat control depending on your house:
-Air Conditioner: makes things cool
-Heater: makes things hot
HOW TO SOLVE IT
Here are the multiple ways of solving your energy wasting and i recommend you use them all together:
1) Close That Window
First of all you don't want to heat or cool the outdoors, so close the open doors and windows. Make sure every time before you touch that thermostat that the windows and doors are closed. Don't forget your fireplace damper, the flap that lets the smoke go out or not. Not only that but close your blinds, this can help the cold and hot air from getting in your house and messing up the temperatures greatly.
2) Heating and Cooling Rules
If you must heat and cool your house follow these rules. During the summer keep it at 78 when you are home and 85 when you aren't. During the winter keep it at 68 when you are home and 55 when you aren't. Stop complaining and put a sweater on, it saves energy.
Step 4: Waterfall
Another very easy way to waste energy is through water. There are many ways we use water on energy but here are two. For one it takes an enormous amount of energy to heat up water when you flip left nob. Second, just turning on the faucet wastes energy because we had to clean it using machines that you guessed it use energy. So when you run your water unnecessarily while you brush your teeth, think again.
HOW TO SOLVE
Well there really wasn't much information for me to research on water that you already know so I'm just going to dive into how you can waste less energy here:
1) Turn off the faucet:
This one is pretty simple. If you are brushing your teeth or doing something that doesn't require running water then turn it off. You don't need it so don't waste it.
2) Fix the leak:
A leaky faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water a year. That is more than the average person person drinks in an entire decade. Fix it. http://www.ehow.com/video_15854_fix-leaky-faucet.html
3) Get out of the bathroom:
Take short showers. Baths waste too much energy with the massive amount of water and energy used to heat it. The shorter the better. You will save a lot of energy.
4) Use the dishwasher:
Using the dishwasher is the preferred way to wash dishes. But remember an important thing. Only do a load if the dishwasher is full.
Step 5: Walk This Way
The biggest polluter's and energy hogs are cars. It costs money to mine oil. Then to refine it. Then to ship it. All in all it's all bad. Cars have been used for decades. They are our top choice for travel unless it's across the sea or a big distance. Regardless almost anyone that can afford it has a car. Kids cherish when they turn 16 just so they can drive a car. It is an extremely important amenity.
I know you love your precious Volkswagens, Chevrolets and if your rich your Ferraris but you need to consider the damage it's doing to the environment and by wasting energy:
I know you don't like the sound of this but you can walk. I understand if its miles and miles away and you don't want to walk sure but if the place your going is a mile or less away walk it. Think about it, you can get some great exercise to boot. Heck you can run there if you want. If you have no where to walk for a purpose then just walk for entertainment instead of turning on your tv or computer
2) Ride your bike:
Now this may sound nerdy but do it. You will save a lot of money. If it is five miles or closer then ride it. All the way there. This is even better exercise.
3) Get a hybrid:
Now there are many places that simply aren't practical to ride your bike to. I decided to not be a nazi about this and put up this option. If you must drive make it a hybrid or at least a car with really really good gas mileage.
Step 6: Conclusion
Life is tough. Its just a mystery we have to solve one day at a time. But you can try to better the world as you take each step. I don't care that you follow every step I gave you, that's crazy. All i care about is that you pick one, just one, two if your feeling sassy and follow it each and every day. Take it to the grave. If we each did that it would make an amazing difference. I learned something writing this instructable. At first it was about winning the macbook pro now it's about saving energy. I could care less if I win as long as someone uses this instructable to make a difference even if a little bit. Life is short. Make a difference out there one person at a time.