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Ways to Conserve Energy

It is interesting to know that the EIA has predicted that till the year 2030, the global energy consumption is expected to increase by more than 55%.
Sadly, this increasing demand has led to an acute shortage, and energy conservation has become vital to protect not only the resources and the environment but also the people around us, as our dependence on these resources has increased ever so rapidly.

Did You Know?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas and electricity are the most consumed energy sources in U.S. homes, both covering 86%, followed by heating oil and propane. 42% of energy in U.S. homes is spent on space heating, and the rest 58% is consumed by electronic gadgets, cooking, lighting, and refrigeration.

Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

Microwave ovens use 50% less energy than conventional electric/gas stove.
Use microwave ovens
Besides being energy efficient, cooking or heating in microwaves can save up to 45% of cooking time. While cooking, don't preheat or open the oven door to peek inside the oven more than necessary, as it expels out all the heat, thereby increasing the cooking time.

Place the refrigerator away from direct sunlight

Placing your refrigerator in direct sunlight will make it and the foodstuff inside hot, thereby requiring more energy to cool the foodstuffs inside. Also, ensure that you close the door as soon as you finish adding stuff or removing them from your fridge. This helps maintain the temperature inside.
Set the refrigerator temperature at about 38 degrees Fahrenheit for fresh food compartment, and your freezer at 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set the refrigerator at a proper temperature
Defrost your freezer often so that there is no frost buildup inside it. Frost increases the energy consumption for maintaining the temperature inside the refrigerator. Also, clean your fridge regularly. Clean the coils behind the refrigerator with vacuums or dusters. This will help conserve energy.
While buying a dishwasher, look for energy saving features like a short wash cycle, which saves water and the energy used to pump and heat it.
Check for features in dishwashers
While washing dishes, scrape off the food from the dishes and put them into the dishwasher instead of pre-washing them using the pre-rinse cycle. If your dishwasher has a filter screen, ensure that you are cleaning it often because a clean appliance operates more efficiently.

Conserve Energy in the Rest of the House

Improve the efficiency of air-conditioning units by cleaning and replacing the air filter regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow, causing the system to run harder and longer.
Maintain air conditioners regularly
About 80% of energy is consumed to complete a washing cycle even when the machine is half-loaded.
Use washing machines efficiently
So, use the machine only when it is fully loaded. Wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot water, unless the clothes are very dirty. This can save you both energy and money.
Choose the highest spin speed when washing clothes. It helps reducing the energy needed to drying clothes. Buy a front-loading washing machine as they save much water and energy compared to the top-loading one.
Always lower the thermostat setting while going to bed and before leaving the house.
Set your thermostat
It will bring down your energy bills without you compromising on your comfort. During winter, set your thermostat to around 68 degrees or less and in summers, set it at around 78 degrees to save on heating costs.
Insulating the walls, ceilings and floor insulation will keep warmth inside homes during the winter months and heat out during the summer.
Insulate your home
Suring summers, insulation resists heat flow and prevents hot air from entering your home. During winters, it prevents heat to escape outside from your home.
CFL bulbs have become popular and are preferred over traditional light bulbs, due to their longevity.
Use CFL bulbs
The reason for this is, people are able to save substantially on their energy bills by using them, as these CFL bulbs use 70-90% less energy than regular light bulbs.

Check dampers

When you use room heaters, ensure that the dampers are switched off because dampers work against the heater, and hence, more energy is required to heat the room. During summer, use the air conditioner in the fan mode so that the energy consumption reduces.
Remove plugs after use
Battery chargers of electronic devices draw power even when left unattended. These devices consume a huge amount of energy, and the result is sheer wastage of power. After charging is complete, pull the plug and save energy.

Use geysers to the extent required

Geysers consume a lot of electricity. They should be used to heat only that amount of water that is required.
Switch off not stand-by
Keeping your computer on 24X7 can be a huge energy constraint. Instead, the computer can be switched off or left in the stand-by mode, which absorbs 70% less power than in working mode. The same can be done to your other electronic or electrical appliances.

Conserve Energy Outside the House

Using of mass rapid transit, instead of a car, may help to a great extent in controlling air pollution. Lesser number of vehicles on the road would lead to lesser demand for gas, not to mention the reduction in emission of harmful gases.
Use public transport
You can also save gas by opting for a carpool rather than using your car and consume four times more gas than you actually need to. It has been found out that carpooling with about three people has helped in cutting emissions by 75%.
Opt for a carpool
Do not waste fuel by driving at high speeds. It has been observed, that the faster you drive, the more gasoline is consumed.
Drive at optimum speed
Driving at a speed of 65 mph rather than 55 mph, which is the average driving speed, reduces the fuel economy leading to excess gas consumption.
This is another way to save fuel and subsequently energy. You need to maintain tire pressure of the car regularly.
Check tire pressure regularly
A tire with less or more than optimum air pressure can reduce gas mileage, leading to wastage, especially for long distance travel.

Secondary Ways to Conserve Energy

If you plant even a single tree, it will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. It provides shade that can reduce your utility bills by about 15%.
Plant trees
Choose Energy Star appliances
When planning to buy a new appliances, choose to buy energy saving ones with an Energy Star label, to cut down on energy consumption. Though Energy Star label appliances may cost more than regular ones, in the longer run, they help you save on your utility bills.
In order to combat global warming, we need to switch over to renewable resources such as wind and solar energy to cut down on the excess energy consumption by regular appliances.
Switch to renewable sources
With human population increasing day by day, there is huge concern about the availability of natural resources and whether there are enough to cater to the demand.
Recycle waste
To ease this, the concept of recycling can be adopted, which is a process of reusing the items from which utility can be derived. Many items like paper, cardboard, and plastic can be recycled in order to reduce demand for resources.
Besides saving energy in all these ways, we should also look for alternative sources of energy, like solar power, if not all energy needs, but a few can definitely be supported by solar power, and if every home follows and implements these suggestions, we would definitely doing our bit to make our planet a better place to live in.

 Poushali Ganguly

Credits
kevin turcios, M. B. M., Iryna Marmeladse, Max Smith, Zbynek Burival