Discussions about home energy management often lead to showcasing electrical and energy management technology such as smart appliances and meters. Those can certainly help, but if you really want to maximize the ease with which you can control the energy your home uses, take a look at these additional strategies. There may be some effort required up front, but once these are in full swing, you'll find your home becoming more efficient very quickly.
Passive solar is not just a strategy to add solar panels to your home. You can use passive solar tactics even if you don't have solar panels on your roof or in your yard. Passive solar refers to the automatic use and management of the sun's energy that hits your home to keep your home comfortable. This includes maximizing sun exposure during the cooler part of the day and minimizing it during the hotter part of the day. If you've planted fast-growing trees along the west side of your home and exposed the windows on the east side to full sunlight, you've used passive solar strategies.
Reducing the energy your home uses is also easy when you look at the items you have to replace. Using efficient LED light bulbs in lamps, for example, lets you use less energy to light your home than if you were to use halogen or efficient-incandescent bulbs. Routinely replacing your air conditioning filter and furnace filter reduces the energy your HVAC system has to use to cool and heat your home. With these routine replacements, your monthly energy usage drops almost effortlessly.
Finally, home energy management also comes down to better training. You and your family need to treat turning off unused lights, for example, as a routine, unconscious action. Keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed, arranging food properly and keeping the freezer relatively full (use water frozen in zippered sandwich bags if you aren't going to have a lot of food in there), dressing for the season, and unplugging printers that aren't in use are all examples of the unconscious actions you need to train yourself to do to manage home energy usage.
For a comprehensive look at how you can streamline your home and its need for energy, have a consultant come in to look at how you're doing things now. Your utility company may offer energy audits, and other companies can help you pinpoint additional areas where you could make some changes.
I have never been the kind of person who is overly concerned about my home, but when we started having issues with our electrical systems, it raised a few red flags for me. I was worried about things starting on fire or shocking my kids, so I started looking for a great electrician who could help as soon as possible. I was able to find a local expert who really understood what it meant to do things the right way, and he was really helpful. Within a few days, we were working with him to resolve our electrical problems, and it was nice to see how much of a difference he made.