July 1, 2013 | By:
It's Monday, and the first installment of our ten great articles and ten great ideas. We’ll be sharing ten news articles each week that feature all kinds of great ideas for how to save energy and money – and highlighting ten of those ideas for you here on our blog. Don’t forget to check back next week for ten more great ideas!
Gallon Jugs of Water in the Fridge Save Money – KCET TV explained how the thermal mass of food and water in your fridge can actually save money – essentially, when you open and close your fridge, if it’s filled with food and drinks, there will be less warm air for your fridge motor to have to chill back down. And even if you don’t have a need for a full fridge of food, just putting a couple gallon jugs of water in the back of the fridge can have the same impact and cut your electricity bill each month.
The Black Roof on Your House is Costing You BIG Money – All across the country, tests are being conducted on white roofs – essentially an eco-friendly paint that deflects rather than absorbs heat, which can reduce internal building temperatures by up to 20 degrees, and cut energy costs by as much as 15 percent. The Post-Gazette covered an effort in Pittsburgh to paint 10 city-owned buildings with white roofs. Coming soon to a city near you?
Energy Saving Fridges May Save More Than A/C Units – The Washington Post had a super wonky article about the difficulty in determining what technologies save money and energy, and due to what’s known as the “rebound effect,” where people who get new technologies sometimes overuse them, a study in Mexico found that people who upgraded to energy-saving refrigerators actually saved more energy and money than people who upgraded to energy saving A/C units because those people ended up using the A/C more often, and offset the savings. Remember, just because it saves energy, doesn’t mean you should use it more!
Seal Your Windows and Save Money Year-Round – Most everyone knows that energy is lost through windows, but it’s also a really easy do-it-yourself fix. The Poughkeepsie Journal gave some tips for weather-stripping and caulking, examining window and door seals, and checking the fit sliding doors. If you spend just a few minutes on an energy efficiency project this week, look at your doors and windows!
Spray Foam Insulation Saves Money -- The Poughkeepsie Journal had a great article about spray foam and it’s potential to save big money on energy bills. If you’ve got a house and haven’t upgraded your insulation, they’ve got a great video explaining exactly how spray foam is installed.
MIT-Berkeley Researchers Try to Explain Why More People Don’t Use Ceiling Fans to Save Energy, and Ignore Other Profitable Opportunities – A new initiative called the E2e Project (http://e2e.mit.edu/) is trying to figure out how and why people aren’t saving energy, and figure out the obstacles keeping us from taking common sense measures. In this article from Business Week, they explore one interesting E2e fact: air conditioning uses a huge amount of energy, and installing a ceiling fan will let you use the ceiling fan much less, essentially paying for the fan many times over, so why aren’t more people buying fans?
Renters Take Notice – Your Inefficient Appliances Could be Costing You Money – This 2012 article from the Washington Post is still a great read – essentially a study has shown that apartments have far fewer energy-efficient appliances than homeowners, which means a renter will pay significantly more per year in energy bills. Before you get a new apartment, make sure to look at their appliances, and ask your landlord for an estimate on monthly energy bills!
Six Easy Ideas for Renters Looking to Save Money and Energy – The always interesting website Greener Ideal had a really straight forward list for renters this past week looking to save money on energy bills. Take a few steps like switching to CFL light bulbs, close closets to reduce the total space that is heated and cooled, and find any electronics devices using standby power. A few minutes spent thinking about energy savings can add up, especially for renters in small apartments.
Simple Steps Like Closing Blinds, and Closing Off Rooms Save Energy – A local community paper in Long Island put out a really simple and helpful list of things to think about this Summer as energy bills start to climb along with the temperature. Their ideas range from installing inexpensive programmable thermostats, to commonsense measures like closing off rooms you don’t use regularly, and closing blinds to keep the sun’s heat from warming your rooms when you’re away.
Microgeneration is the Next Step for Big Businesses Looking to Save Energy – While not entirely relevant to most homeowners, big businesses, hospitals, and other large facilities are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year with combined “heat and power” systems. This article from the Baltimore Sun is a great read for anyone you know who owns or operates a business that uses a lot of energy --- though be warned – you also need a continual use for the heat the machines produce!