Save your energy; check out these books —November 1, 2013
When it gets very, very hot or very, very cold, a new game emerges-- finger wrestling at the thermostat. “72 degrees!” “No, 66 degrees!” “It’s too hot….too cold.” Like the recent commercial which shows a man and his shadow beating one another up over a two degree thermostatic adjustment. One of them shouts “It’s only two degrees” and other responds, “But it costs money!!!” It’s comical the way some couples try to outsmart one another in the battle for temperature control. Thank goodness, we Nebraskans get periods of relief when the climate settles into a comfort phase.
As the weeks pass, Nature steps up the pace a bit. Breezes bully leaves until they flee from their branches and flowers shrink away. It isn’t long before delicate flakes of white begin covering the sleeping landscape with a glistening blanket. Brrr! It’s time to turn on the budget breaker or boost it a bit. If you’re one of the many residents who expect eye-bulging heating bills this winter, it may be time to reassess your home’s energy saving status. Our local utility rates are comparatively low, but searching out and eliminating the places which sabotage the warmth of a home can provide a pleasant surprise in savings. HU can supply informative newsletters and, based on your utility bills, offer helpful advice to make your home more energy efficient.
“Energy”, is a small book with big ideas for slashing utility bills. For example, let the sun shine in during the winter months, but shut it out during the heat of summer. Energy saving bulbs last much longer and use about 20 % of the energy used by an incandescent bulb. Those old single pane windows steal about 25% of a home’s heat. An inexpensive plastic film added to the window’s frame help minimize that loss. “Consumer Guide To Energy Savings” compares various factors when purchasing furnaces, water heaters and other appliances. Small “Did you know” boxes throughout the book provide enough information to make quick and easy changes to save $$$$. For example, water saving showerheads can cut water use in half and the energy to heat it.
The “Complete Guide To Reducing Energy Costs” supplies directions for applying weatherstripping, replacing worn out gaskets and installing thresholds. It compares the differences in efficiency of various appliances and how to use the ones you own for maximum savings. The book also lists “20 quick no-cost ways to save”.
Have you ever thought about landscaping as a means for saving energy dollars? It’s one of many topics in “The Homeowner’s Handbook to Energy Efficiency”. If your air conditioning unit is sitting in direct sunlight, planting appropriate landscaping will cut cooling costs by 15% to 50%. Trees can be an attractive addition to your landscaping and reduce the windchill factor as well.
If new construction is in your future, perhaps “The Renewable Energy Handbook” will be of interest. “Wind Energy In America” describes the function of the wind turbines which continue to pop up everywhere. “Solar Living Sourcebook” is, as the title implies, full of information about capturing the sun’s abilities. It also describes equipment and procedures for water purifying, recycled products, composting and probably just about anything else that will help with energy conservation.
It’s easy to see that just about everyone can do something to save energy and save money doing it. Why not challenge yourself to see how much in savings your efforts make? Show Ol’Man Winter who’s in charge.