Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The Top 20 Ways To Save Energy In The Home & At Work

20 Ways That You Can Do Your Bit To Save Energy & Help The Environment , While Also Saving Yourself Money In The Long Run:

Home appliances

Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of Household electricity use. Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees and your freezer as close to 3 degrees as possible. Make sure that its energy saver switch is turned on. Also, check the gaskets around your refrigerator/freezer doors to make sure they are clean and sealed tightly.

Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting, not hot. Switching from hot to warm for two loads per week can save nearly 500 pounds of CO2 per year if you have an electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater.

Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it and use the energy saving setting, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry. You can also turn off the drying cycle manually. Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher's total electricity use.

Turn down your water heater thermostat. Thermostats are often set to 140 degrees F when 120 is usually fine. Each 10 degree reduction saves 600 pounds of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 440 pounds for a gas heater. If every household turned its water heater thermostat down 20 degrees, we could prevent more than 45 million tons of annual CO2 emissions - the same amount emitted by the entire nations of Kuwait or Libya.

Select the most energy-efficient models when you replace your old appliances. Look for the Energy Star Label - your assurance that the product saves energy and prevents pollution. Buy the product that is sized to your typical needs - not the biggest one available. Front loading washing machines will usually cut hot water use by 60 to 70% compared to typical machines. Replacing a typical 1973 refrigerator with a new energy-efficient model, saves 1.4 tons of CO2 per year. Investing in a solar water heater can save 4.9 tons of CO2 annually.

Home Heating and Cooling

Be careful not to overheat or overcool rooms. In the winter, set your thermostat at 68 degrees in daytime, and 55 degrees at night. In the summer, keep it at 78. Lowering your thermostat just two degrees during winter saves 6 percent of heating-related CO2 emissions. That's a reduction of 420 pounds of CO2 per year for a typical home.

Clean or replace air filters as recommended. Energy is lost when air conditioners and hot-air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used. That could save 175 pounds of CO2 per year.

Small investments that pay off

Buy energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs for your most-used lights. Although they cost more initially, they save money in the long run by using only 1/4 the energy of an ordinary incandescent bulb and lasting 8-12 times longer. They provide an equivalent amount of bright, attractive light. Only 10% of the energy consumed by a normal light bulb generates light. The rest just makes the bulb hot. If every American household replaced one of its standard light bulbs with an energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb, we would save the same amount of energy as a large nuclear power plant produces in one year. In a typical home, one compact fluorescent bulb can save 260 pounds of CO2 per year.

Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket, which costs just £10 to £20. It can save 1100 lbs. of CO2 per year for an electric water heater, or 220 pounds for a gas heater.

Use less hot water by installing low-flow shower heads. They cost just £10 to £20 each, deliver an invigorating shower, and save 300 pounds of CO2 per year for electrically heated water, or 80 pounds for gas-heated water.

Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows. Caulking costs less than £1 per window, and weather stripping is under £10 per door. These steps can save up to 1100 pounds of CO2 per year for a typical home. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to find out where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. This service may be provided free or at low cost. Make sure it includes a check of your furnace and air conditioning.

Getting around

Whenever possible, walk, bike, car pool, or use mass transit. Every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions. If your car gets 25 miles per gallon, for example, and you reduce your annual driving from 12,000 to 10,000 miles, you'll save 1800 pounds of CO2.

When you next buy a car, choose one that gets good mileage. If your new car gets 40 miles per gallon instead of 25, and you drive 10,000 miles per year, you'll reduce your annual CO2 emissions by 3,300 pounds.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying minimally packaged goods, choosing reusable products over disposable ones, and recycling. For every pound of waste you eliminate or recycle, you save energy and reduce emissions of CO2 by at least 1 pound. Cutting down your garbage by half of one large trash bag per week saves at least 1100 pounds of CO2 per year. Making products with recycled materials, instead of from scratch with raw materials, uses 30 to 55% less for paper products, 33% less for glass, and a whopping 90% less for aluminum.

If your car has an air conditioner, make sure its coolant is recovered and recycled whenever you have it serviced. In the United States, leakage from auto air conditioners is the largest single source of emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the ozone layer as well as add to global warming. The CFCs from one auto air conditioner can add the equivalent of 4800 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.

Home Improvements

.When you plan major home improvements, consider some of these energy saving investments. They save money in the long run, and their CO2 savings can often be measured in tons per year.

Insulate your walls and ceilings. This can save 20 to 30 percent of home heating bills and reduce CO2 emissions by 140 to 2100 pounds per year. If you live in a colder climate, consider superinsulating. That can save 5.5 tons of CO2 per year for gas-heated homes, 8.8 tons per year for oil heat, or 23 tons per year for electric heat. (If you have electric heat, you might also consider switching to more efficient gas or oil.)

Modernize your windows. Replacing all your ordinary windows with argon filled, double-glazed windows saves 2.4 tons of CO2 per year for homes with gas heat, 3.9 tons of oil heat, and 9.8 tons for electric heat.

Plant shade trees and paint your house a light color if you live in a warm climate, or a dark color if you live in a cold climate. Reductions in energy use resulting from shade trees and appropriate painting can save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions per year. (Each tree also directly absorbs about 25 pounds of CO2 from the air annually.)

Business and community

Work with your employer to implement these and other energy-efficiency and waste-reduction measures in your office or workplace. Form or join local citizens' groups and work with local government officials to see that these measures are taken in schools and public buildings.

Keep track of the environmental voting records of candidates for office. Stay abreast of environmental issues on both local and national levels, and write or call your elected officials to express your concerns about energy efficiency and global warming.

Eco-friendly doesn’t have to be dull

While searching for eco-homes on the internet , we found a unique example of a home that is eco-friendly , but a modern home with all the features of a standard house:

'Zac Michaelis must be the envy of all his classmates. At six years of age he already has a sought-after address in Notting Hill and lives in one of the most spectacular examples of environmentally friendly design built in the capital. Add to this the fact that his home has an indoor swimming pool, BFG-size beanbag, pop-up TV and a slide besides the stairs and even his teachers could be forgiven for occasional pangs of jealousy.
But once you have met any member of the Michaelis family, any grudging feelings soon melt into admiration. You see, they are jolly nice and, over the past two years, they have been busting a gut to prove that eco-friendly architecture doesn’t have to be dull and worthy: it can be cool.

Zac’s dad is the architect Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd Associates, known for designing sleek urban watering holes like the West London restaurant 192 and the Somerset hotel, Babington House. Yet the house he has built for himself, his paediatrician wife, Caroline, and their children, Zac, Kit, 4 and Ro, 2, is far from flash externally. A very ordinary, 6ft-high brick wall is the only mark that this project has left on the leafy avenue.

Press the silver buzzer, though, and you enter a different world. Sinking into the ground in front of you is a vast, white cube, its surface broken by expanses of glass. A curved entrance ramp pulls you towards an imposing glass door. This is more the Michaelis we were expecting.

Alex is a self-confessed eco obsessive who recycles pretty much everything and drives an electric car. His present crusade is to develop an environmentally friendly air-conditioning system, and he looks genuinely upset when talking about the waste problem currently plaguing the construction industry. So it seems strange that his house is made principally from concrete. ‘There really wasn’t any other solution,’ he explains apologetically. ‘We had to support the surrounding buildings and other materials just aren’t up to scratch when building this deep.’

According to Alex, ‘the way the house is designed, it’s so well insulated it hardly needs heating.’ Nevertheless, he has installed an ingenious system to service the house. A borehole, 100m deep, taps into the earth’s aquifer providing the water supply. Once this water has passed through a heat pump, it provides hot water, heating and the pool. Hot water solar panels, and photovoltaic panels which provide electricity, take the pressure off the heat pump and the swimming-pool works as a heat sink for the rest of the house, maintaining the temperature of the pool throughout the building.

The swimming pool looks super cool, is fantastic for the kids and has unexpected eco-advantages. ‘Say the pool is heated to 25°C then the rest of the house will stabilise at 25°C, says Alex. ‘This reduces our electricity consumption.’

These are big, impressive eco gestures, but they’re pricey. So what’s the relevance of the house to the rest of us? ‘At the moment eco friendly designs are more expensive,’ Alex admits. ‘We’re way behind Sweden, Norway, Switzerland which sell the technology I’ve used in the equivalent of the Ideal Homes Exhibition.’ But he adds, ‘As people in the UK become more environmentally aware, the costs will reduce. We simply have to move in this direction. Sustainability and environmental design are going to be the critical words in planning and architecture over the next 20 years.’ '

For the rest of this article and more , visit the Grand Designs webpage at :

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Other Ways To Live Sustainably

After researching about what sustainable living was, we decided to find out about alternatives to the outdoor , natural way of sustainable living.
While searching using Google , we found a home builders' website called that mentioned a house called the Enviro-Home : 'The Enviro-Home features products and systems that reduce energy consumption, encourage conservation, and use recycled or sustainable resources. Being part of the solution is of utmost importance to Clarum. Therefore, the Enviro-Home

features are standard features in every home built by Clarum Homes'.

Below is a picture of The Enviro-Home and a list of the features that make it environmentally friendly.

>Ceiling Fan Outlets
>Fluorescent Light Bulbs
>Increased Insulation
>Energy Efficient Windows
>Water Conserving Landscape
>Tankless Water Heater
>Environmentally Friendly Flooring
>Satellite linked Irrigation Controller
>Construction Materials Recycling
>Integrated pavers (optional item)
>Water Conserving Fixtures
>High-Efficiency Furnace and
Programmable Thermostat
>Engineered Wood
>Radiant Roof Barrier
>Sheathing Structured Plumbing
>Tightly Sealed Ducts
>Water Conserving Laundry Equipment
>Environmentally Friendly Paint
>Fiber Cement Siding
>Gray water system (optional item)
>Foam Wrapped Building Envelope
>Recycled Content Decking
>Fiberglass Doors
>Whole house vacuum (optional item)
>Solar Electric Home Power System

So What Is Sustainable Living?

On average, each household in the UK is responsible for around six tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year - enough to fill six hot air balloons 10 meters in diameter.

U.K homes are responsible for 50% of Carbon Dioxide emissions.

£5 billion worth of energy is wasted annually in the UK.

From our research of sustainable living , we found that astonishing facts like these have made people want to live in a more environmentally-friendly manner. They use recycled materials to build their homes and live in a natural habitat. They use the most energy-efficient methods to do things. From living like they do ,they prevent six tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year. At first that may seem a tiny proportion compared to the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide emissions , but if everybody attempted to go greener , then the figures of carbon emissions would fall by millions of tons a year.