Thursday, December 28, 2017
Over 150 years ago, wood had fueled almost 90% of the country's needed energy. Now we have fireplaces that provide heat from a few different energies: wood, gas, and electricity. If you're keen on conserving energy this winter, let's take a peek at the different styles of keeping that living room toasty.
There's something comforting about the traditional nature of a wood burning stove. They've been effectively heating homes for thousands of years at this point and continue to today. A constant source of energy, they cannot be foiled by limitations in gas supply or power outages.
While the wood-fueled fireplace may be the most attractive option, you may not reduce energy costs without thoughtful care. Chimneys are culprits of heat escape during the winter and fireplaces often centralize heat instead of being able to circulate it through your home. There is also annual safety inspection that must be considered. A wood fireplace can be a liability if not adequately cared for.
The bill from your electric suppliers will likely be the lowest with this option. Gas is convenient and you'll save on energy costs by having the ability to redirect the heat from your gas stove to the rest of the house. If you're looking for ways to save energy in your home, gas fireplaces are a great choice. They work during power outages and there's little cleaning or maintenance to be done, other than inspection once a year.
As with wood-burning fireplaces, installation can be pricey. It can be even more pricey if your gas supplier has to install an additional gas line to connect to your fireplace. Even the price of natural gas, depending on how much the fireplace is used, can be cause for concern.
As far as immediate installation goes, electric fireplaces are the easiest to install and use, and they're also inexpensive. They don't require the space that wood-burning or gas fireplaces need and some are even portable, able to be plugged into power outlets. They're incredibly convenient.
They can be the least appealing as far as visual aesthetic. Most electric fireplaces look like you're watching a fire burn on television. They eat up electricity and don't heat beyond the room they're situated. If there's a power outage, electric fireplaces are completely useless.
At the end of the day, it's all about the space you have, the look you want, and what you're trying to save on. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, but while your electric suppliers are gearing up for you to run the furnace, remember an old fashioned heating option that'll warm you, hearth, home, and heart.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Educate your kids. In order to help kids appreciate energy conservation, they have to understand it first. By having a discussion with your child about energy, you'll be able to help them understand where energy and electricity come from. You should consider telling them about your local energy company and explaining how energy is received from the local energy company. Additionally, there are online resources and books to help explain the concept in a fun, easy way.
Plan activities that don't use electricity. Consider dedicating a certain time, whether it be an hour a day or a whole day out of the week, to do activities that don't use electricity or energy. Exploring outdoors is a great way to do this because oftentimes you don't require energy to do stuff outside. Planning these activities can be a great way to bring the whole family together without sitting in front of a screen.
Use energy-efficient transportation. When possible, you should encourage your family to be creative when it comes to transportation. It's important for kids to know that there are other modes of transportation that will help you reduce energy use. With that in mind, you should consider biking or walking when possible.
Keep your children involved. If you're making lifestyle changes to help increase energy savings, share these behaviors with the whole family. Whether it's taking shorter showers or ensuring all the lights are off when you leave a room, the whole family should be participating. Additionally, if you're doing projects around the house, make sure to include your children. By explaining to them what you're working on and how it's going to help you save energy, you'll be helping them further understand the importance of saving energy.
Start a garden together in the early Spring. Not only do gardens naturally help the environment, but they can also instill a sense of responsibility in your children. Additionally, they'll be able to learn about different types of plants and natural resources. You can choose to grow produce, flowers, or even plant some trees. In fact, trees are a great addition to your property. When trees provide shade, reductions in energy use can save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Also, each tree can absorb about 25 pounds of CO2 from the air each year on their own.
No matter what age your child is, it's never too early to start teaching them how to save energy and minimize their impact on the environment. Whether it's talking to them about your local energy company or growing plants, there are plenty of ways to educate your children about the importance of reducing energy use.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Have you ever considered making your home a more sustainable, clean place to live? The renewable energy sources below will take you to a level far beyond installing a programmable thermostat and saving a mere 10% on cooling and heating costs.
Solar Roofing Panels
This might be one of the most obvious choices, but its benefits are practically endless. It's worth mentioning as one of the most easily accessible renewable energy sources out there, too! Depending on your roof and the orientation of your panels, it's possible to generate more than 10 watts per square foot of coverage. And solar power doesn't just mean electricity, either. In fact, you have the option of using solar power for household things like heating water and powering your air conditioning, as well. Bid your traditional electricity supplier goodbye!
Wind turbines are most typically found offshore or on large, empty plots of land, but nobody said you had to have a mammoth wind turbine in your backyard. In fact, any wind turbine powering your home would need to be scaled down to fit on your property. One of the biggest advantages here is that wind power is a bit more reliable than solar power in most cases. Where the sun may hide behind a cloud, it's a rare day that's without a good breeze.
If your property houses a stream or any kind of running water, you're in luck. It may not be Niagara Falls, but a micro hydro power system can make powering your home an environmentally friendly breeze. Even a small stream can help you generate power at a price point that's lower than both solar and wind.
If you're looking to get involved in a cleaner, greener lifestyle, these renewable energy sources are excellent places to start. Who knows what other renewable energy tools may become available in the future? It's best to get started now.