The conundrum lies with the need to use energy for such reasons as heating and cooling homes, but this contributes to the carbon problem. There are many personal rewards for energy use such as staying warm during winter blizzards, keeping cool when the sun is sweltering, and being able to see indoors when the sun goes down. By altering a few behaviors to become more energy-efficient, people can enjoy the benefits of energy use while still being cognizant of carbon emissions.
Ways to Work Towards Energy Reduction Rewards
Energy reduction rewards can come in the form of self-satisfaction knowing you're helping the environment or in physical rewards such as reduced energy bills or benefits with energy suppliers for being more green with energy use. Below are a few things to consider that will help work towards whatever energy reduction rewards are best suited for you.
Check for any leaks in seals that could be allowing air to seep in and out. A house is supposed to be a contained unit where air temperature can be controlled. If there are multiple leaks, this makes it harder on the thermostat to regulate the temperature causing the heater or air conditioner to work more than it should. Be sure to check for leaks around doors and windows as well as any place that additions to a home have been added and the original foundation or framing was dismantled. Cracks and breaks in seals are likely to appear first in such locations. Ensuring the house is properly sealed and insulated could reduce heating and cooling bills by 20%.
Break out the blankets instead of dialing up the heat. Turn the thermostat down a few notches in the winter to reduce carbon emissions from heat. A two-degree drop can reduce emissions by 6%, which is roughly 420 pounds of carbon per home. A minute drop can contribute to great rewards for energy use.
In addition to turning down the thermostat, invest in proper insulation for walls and ceilings. If all cracks are sealed, insulation can cut down on the need to heat the house reducing energy bills by 20-30%. Insulation helps contain the heat that is produced, cutting carbon emissions by 140 to 2100 pounds per year.
Two things can help contribute to managing house temperature: foliage and paint color. Foliage such as shade trees can help shade the house from the sun's rays in times of warm weather, reducing how much the air conditioner might have to work. The same goes for paint. Depending on the climate, lighter pastels are better at deflecting the sun's rays and keeping the house cooler, while darker colors are more useful in absorbing the sun's rays to keep a house warmer. Either way, the strategic use of foliage and paint in climates can save 2.4 tons of carbon emissions per year. The trees also help take some of the carbon out of the air.
No matter what rewards for energy use you are looking for, personal or environmental, careful attention to how energy is used and managed in the home can result in maximum energy reduction rewards for all involved. Check for leaks, monitor the thermostat, install insulation, and use appropriate décor to curb unnecessary carbon emissions.