Cutting Energy Costs Never Looked So Good
World energy consumption is projected to grow by 28% by 2040. One way to cut energy costs is to address some of the biggest energy wasters in your home.
Energy efficiency might not always be on your mind – until you open that first energy bill of the winter. Yikes! According to a 2009 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) survey, heating accounts for 41.5% of average residential energy usage, while appliances, electronics, and lighting account for 34.6%; water heating 17.7%; and air conditioning 6.2%.
Biggest Energy Wasters in the Home
Last year, primary energy consumption in the United States rose slightly, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which projects that world energy consumption will grow by 28% by 2040. One way to cut energy costs is to address some of the biggest energy wasters in your home.
“An average household dedicates about 5% of its energy budget to lighting,” says the DOE. The EIA, meanwhile, estimates that in 2017, “residential lighting consumption was about 129 billion kWh or about 9% of total residential sector electricity consumption that year.”
By replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs, the DOE estimates that homeowners can save $75 each year.
Did you know that many of your electronics continue to use power even when they are turned “off?” Take your cable box, for instance. “They never power down and they are almost always consuming their full power requirements even when you think you’ve turned it off,” said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “If you have a DVR on your main TV, and a regular set-top box on a second TV, that could equal the energy use of a new refrigerator.” Other culprits include computers, printers, television, gaming consoles, and microwaves. These devices draw so-called standby power when they are off, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
The only way to truly stop power consumption is to unplug these devices or plug them into a power strip that you can turn on and off.
“Windows lose more heat per square foot of area in winter and gain more heat in summer than any other surface in the home,” according to the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that windows account for 25-40% of our annual heating and cooling costs. This is because heat always travels from warm areas to cool areas along the path of least resistance – in this case that means your windows. While the average exterior wall has an R-Value (a measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow) of 13.1, the average window has an R-Value of just 1.16, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
By slowing heat loss and making windows more efficient, homeowners can significantly cut energy costs.
Cut Energy Costs in Style with Honeycomb Shades
“Some carefully selected window treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer,” advises the U.S. Department of Energy. Our recommendation: Honeycomb Shades. These window treatments “act as insulation, protecting your home from cold and heat with their energy-saving honeycomb design,” says interior designer Lisa Scheff. Each honeycomb, or cell, produces insulating pockets of inert air, a poor conductor of heat. Honeycomb shades can actually increase a window’s R-Value anywhere from 3.45 and 5.00, slowing the transfer of heat by as much as 55-65%. But, perhaps best of all, honeycomb shades look great.
"They (Honeycomb Shades) suit nearly all home décor designs because they afford choices that can be based on opacity, energy efficiency and color."SHOP HONEYCOMB SHADES