In the quest for lowering your carbon footprint, you'll come across a ton of misinformation that will throw you off track. Which appliances are actually the biggest energy hogs? Does it save energy to keep certain electronics running all the time? Do I have to suffer and sacrifice to reduce my carbon footprint?
Whether you own a house or you're renting, we're covering all of these questions as we debunk some of the biggest myths surrounding saving energy in your home. Read on to ensure that you have the latest intel on saving the planet!
We all want to believe that as soon as we press that “off" switch, we're instantly saving money. The truth is that all things that plug in will take some energy whether they're turned off or turned on.
However, you can save a small amount of money by unplugging your appliances when they're not in use. The downside is that it's not often practical to unplug your appliances, as you might lose your pre-programmed settings or you don't have easy access.
The air conditioner has long been the enemy of the green revolution, but A/C manufacturers have changed a lot of the way they do things in order to make much more eco-friendly air conditioner options.
Talk to your landlord about air conditioner options that are EnergyStar certified, feature two-stage compressors (these automatically lower energy use on cool days and raise energy use on warm days, effectively saving money) and programming options so you use only the energy you need. Not only will this save you money, but it's a great investment for your landlord to make in the long run.
It's often thought that since gas stoves use natural gas vs. electricity, they're more cost-effective. In truth, you'll probably save money on energy bills if you opt for a gas stove.
With that being said, there are some brilliant new options in the electric range market that beat out gas in terms of cost and energy use. For example, installing an induction range in your kitchen can help lower both because it uses electricity and magnetic coils to heat pots and pans while keeping the surface cool to the touch, saving energy (and, in turn, money).
Of course, if you're renting, you might not have the option to choose the appliances you prefer, so talk to your landlord before making any changes.
OK, this one has probably been smashed by now, but there was a period of time when the efficiency and performance of these two bulbs were thought to perform on a level playing field. In fact, as you probably already know, LED lights surpass their coiled counterparts in terms of energy use, lifespan and safety.
LED bulbs last up to four times longer than CFLs, while running cooler and drawing much less energy. Both CFLs and LEDs crush incandescent light bulbs in terms of performance, however.
Have you ever heard someone say that leaving lights, electronics or the heat running saves more energy than turning it on and off? While that may have been true at one point, modern electronics do not draw extra energy to turn on and off.
There's also a myth that states that constantly turning them off and on can lower their lifespan, but in fact, electronics are designed for this very purpose and will not deteriorate if regularly turned off and on.
It seems to add up — if you close the vents in the rooms you're not using, you'll see some savings in energy costs. In fact, closing the vents doesn't actually lower how much heat or cold air your home's HVAC system pumps out.
Instead, the hot or cold air simply heads to the closed vent and then turns around and reroutes to another area of your home. This may actually cause you to use more energy by cranking up the heat or A/C in that room when you do decide to use it.
Ah, the old dishwashing conundrum! Does washing dishes by hand save water? Nope! In fact, the opposite is very much true. Dishwashers outperform hand-washing in study after study, and usually by a landslide.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that EnergyStar-certified dishwashers use less than half the energy of hand-washing and save nearly 5,000 gallons of water per year. So, if you're looking to move into or rent a new space, make sure you have an efficient dishwasher.
There are a lot of laundry-related things you can do to save water and energy, but switching to hand-washing isn't one of them. Again, talk to your landlord about investing in highly rated energy-efficient appliances, and you'll see definite savings on your water bills over a period of time.
If you really want to save energy when washing your clothes, you can skip the dryer and line-dry your clothes outside part of the time.
Older generations may have taught us that in order to save money and energy, we must shiver in the winter, sweat in the summer and do everything by hand. In truth, energy-efficient appliances and smart products can lower how much we consume without discomfort or inconvenience.
In fact, lowering your energy consumption benefits you by saving you money and time, since many appliances are actually more efficient than doing chores by hand. Sacrifice is not a requisite for reducing your carbon footprint!
Like anything in life, sorting out the fact from the fiction is an important part of building an energy-efficient home and lowering your carbon footprint. Make sure to fact check all information and you'll be well on your way to a lean, efficient home, with lower energy bills to boot!