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A unique but practical way to cut back on energy consumption is to create an energy budget.  While this may seem inconvenient it is effective and parallels many other methods of cutting back.  We budget the way we spend money, we count calories, and manage our time the same way; so why not budget our energy consumption?

 Just as any of these other methods, a homeowner must first start with a plan, and then must acknowledge and commit to the plan everyday along with anyone else who lives in the home.  This may seem restricting and inconvenient, but often people don't realize how much energy they waste every day without even knowing it.

 For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus this sample energy budget on electricity.  Begin by assessing the amount of electricity consumed by larger electric appliances in your home.  Examples would be refrigerators, microwaves, electric ovens, and heating and cooling units.  This information is available on energy star labels that are provided with your
appliances.  If you do not have the information with your owner’s manual, try looking it up online at energysavers.gov.  The information we are looking for is energy consumption in watts per year.


Using this quantity divide by 52 to find out how many watts it consumes on average per week.  This number is based on a certain usage level; keep that in mind.  Now evaluate each light source in your home by room.  While individual lighting consumption is far less than large appliances, it still accounts for up to 30 percent of daily total electricity consumption.  If  you cannot manage to obtain lighting facts labels that indicate watts per usage, there are other methods to obtain this information.  Kill-a-Watt power consumption meter can be plugged in between an outlet and a light source to determine how much energy is consumed by that source in a day or week.  Performing a simple energy audit with this tool alone can provide you with the information you need to create a weekly energy budget.

 Once necessary information on lighting and appliance energy consumption is acquired, one can set goals with other members of the household.  Cutting back on lighting is the easiest way to reach these goals.  Understanding which rooms account for the most energy consumption by lighting will give you a better idea of where to start.  

By using high efficacy lighting in these spaces, each incandescent bulb in a house can be replaced with an LED light bulb to reduce energy savings by up to 70 percent.  Before replacing the bulbs, see how much power can be saved
just by turning off lights when not in use.  In order to cost effectively transition your light fixtures replace only the most frequently used lights with energy efficient LED lighting.  These will offer the most bang for your buck and increase your return on investment.  

If leaving lights on when not in use is an issue for your household, try installing occupancy and vacancy sensors to eliminate wasted electrical energy consumption.  These automatic light switches will turn on and off automatically as it senses occupancy or vacancy.  For certain circumstances, vacancy sensor switches will only turn on when the switch is turned on manually.

 When used strategically each of these tools can help you to lower energy consumption and meet your energy efficiency goals. 





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