Made in the Shade: Save Energy and Stay Cool
Placing shades, curtains or insulated films on windows all aid in reducing the amount of sunlight (heat) streaming in and maintain a lower indoor temperature. Closing blinds during the daytime, especially on west- and south-facing windows can save you money by running your swamp cooler or air conditioner less.
Properly placed trees provide shade in the warm summer months. When done correctly, landscaping can reduce your energy bill by shading your house, and shading the air conditioner can significantly increase its efficiency.
Home Electronics: The Energy Vampires
Did you know that an estimated 10 to 15 percent of all electricity used in the home is typically consumed by electronic devices? Thus, computers, televisions and other electronics earn the name ‘vampires’ as they suck energy while they are plugged in, even when not in use.
With home electronics proliferating these days, here are three ways to reduce home electronic energy use:
- When shopping for new electronic products look for the ENERGY STAR label. These are certified energy savers.
- Plug in home electronics into a power strip and utilize the on/ off switch. By using the off switch, this will ensure that no power is delivered to the outlet, thus saving energy and money on your energy bill.
- Realize the difference between on and off. The primary power modes are active (meaning on and in use), active standby (mobile device charging), passive standby (microwave not in use), and finally the off mode (completely off and non-operational until powered on). Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use.
To Conserve Energy, Start with Insulation
Whether building new or remodeling a home, insulation should be at the top of the list. Proper insulation is the key to an energy-efficient home that stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Reducing energy bills goes hand in hand with installing or upgrading insulation and while there may be an upfront cost to upgrade insulation, in the long run improving insulation in a home will significantly reduce your energy bill over time.
Think beyond the insulation in walls though and consider sealing ducts, weather stripping around door openings and windows, and increasing insulation in the attic space if applicable.
The first step to determining if a home’s insulation is inefficient is to perform an energy audit/ assessment. Conducted by a trained energy auditor, this process tests to see if heat is escaping and for other factors that can improve a home’s energy efficiency. Contact your local electric or gas provider, check with local and state government, or look up a certified provider on the Residential Energy Services Network.
Alpine Bank Boulder President Chris Maughan invites the community to come visit the new bank, which is targeting LEED Gold–certification, featuring a rooftop 21.6 kwh solar system among its many sustainable building attributes. Alpine Bank is an employee-owned community bank, serving Colorado communities from 40 locations across the state.