In the present situation, when there is heavy demand for energy and acute constraints in its availability, it is a great challenge to not only for home owners and tenants but also experts on energy sources to identify the areas of wastage in residential power consumption and energy leakages and their causes.
A saving of a thermal unit of combustible gas and a kilowatt of electricity means a corresponding reduction in the need to generate combustible gas and electricity. The requirement of water for turning turbines and the coal for the furnace would also be accordingly less. Hence, if we could make our home more energy efficient, we would reduce the burden of national power plants having to meet energy demand.
Effecting savings in residential power consumption has the advantage of slowing down the building ‘smoke piles’ and nuclear towers. Climatic conditions of the area where the residence is located, the features of the home and the daily routine of the inmates have an important bearing on residential energy inefficiency.
For instance, while wastage of heat may affect a residence in the North Dakota, wastage of energy in cooling is the highest in Texas. Water heating and lighting may be predominant in a high-rise apartment.
Inefficiency in power consumption affects every home and the following 8 factors contribute to the normal energy wastage.
1) Occupants energy consumption habits.
Residents and managers of apartments can assist in preventing wastage and reducing power consumption by about 50% through awareness and cooperative efforts. People can be motivated to take effective steps to reduce energy consumption by offering suitable incentives.
Residents can approach electricity supplier to help them with appropriate training and offer rebates. If the neighbors consume less electricity, it may be a good idea to get a few tips from them on saving energy.
2) Home electrical appliances.
Energy Star will facilitate appraisal of the present inefficiencies in usage of power so that one can get the most energy efficient models suitable to his requirements.
Refrigerators, water beds, lights, televisions, music systems, computers and washing machines and even fish tanks can cause considerable energy losses due to their outmoded designs and improper use. Energy Star appliances can contribute to a great extent to reduce power consumption.
3) Heat distribution system.
Heat distribution systems are other areas where wastages can occur. For example, air leaks in heating ducts cause a lot of wastage of energy. It is advisable to get the ducts sealed if one heating register blows a large amount of warmer air than the other register.
4) Solar gain from the sun.
Many homes consume much more power than required to cool the rooms as they get warmer due to heat from the sun warming their rooms and there is not enough shade for protection, which will be evident if we place our hands on any of the objects in the room. Gadgets like hair dryer also consume a lot of energy. It may be helpful to use a thermal curtain on the west side window.
5) Air conditioning systems.
Air conditioning systems consume abnormally high amount of power due to irregular and incorrect maintenance. In order to ensure that air conditioners operate efficiently, it is essential to enter into an annual maintenance contract. This will help in reducing energy consumption on A.C.
With outstanding advances in technology, numerous energy-efficient air conditioning systems are now available. Even after regular servicing, if the existing air conditioner consumes a lot of energy, it is better to replace it with a latest model of energy-efficient
6) Hot water heater.
Your home water heater also consumes plenty of energy. A water heater contributes to an energy loss of 40%. A proper insulation of water heaters and hot water distribution lines can minimize heat energy losses.
It is essential to set the water temperature below 120 degrees for optimum saving in energy. If ‘baseline’ electricity or gas consumption is excessive, it means that there may be a water heating problem.
7) Air leakage.
A blower door test can determine the cubic feet of air that leaks out and fills into the house per minute. It is quite common for an old house to let out 3000 cubic feet of air through the holes in a home every minute. Air sealing is the most cost-effective way to prevent the gush of air and reduce energy losses.
8) Heat loss.
The heat losses occur when heat passes through the air, cooled by an air conditioning system. Wood and several other construction materials are responsible for high consumption of energy.
This is due to thermal resistance of the structure of a home that considers ‘R-value’, thermal and air barriers, the effectiveness of doors and windows and design and quality of the structures.
A heat loss can be detected by touching the walls of the room. If they feel cold in a cold day, it means that it is a case of heat loss.