Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Save 1000 Gallons of Water a Month With 5 Minutes of Work

low flow shower head
Actually, not only can you save 500 gallons of water with just five minutes of effort, but you can reduce your water heating costs at the same time.

When I moved into my current house over four years ago, it was brand new construction meeting the latest building standards. Over time, standards relating to efficiency have improved greatly, so I felt good about the efficiency of the house.

Of course, as I started to get to know my house I discovered quite a few areas where the standards could be improved upon, and one area that could easily save 500 gallons of water per month with less than $20 to $40 spent, and only 5 minutes of effort.

Friday, November 26, 2010

News Roundup - Spray On Solar Windows

Spray-On Solar Windows

OK, this may not be "news" anymore, since it was announced 2 months ago, but a company called New Energy Technologies announced a product that they claim allows ordinary windows to be converted to solar generating windows.

The product, which would be sprayed onto the window surface, essentially creates a thin-film coating (claimed to be thinner than existing thin-filmed technologies) that generates electricity.

The press release can be viewed on eSolar News.

The company claims that performance numbers with third-party review will be published shortly. No indication of availability and cost has been provided.

Obviously, this method brings up a lot of questions, ranging from durability to how much light will be allowed through. Another interesting one to watch...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shopping Ideas to Turn Black Friday Green

I've already discussed a few energy saving gift ideas and energy saving holiday decorations that will reduce your electric bills.  But often times you can save energy in some unexpected ways by using products that may not be marketed as 'energy savers'.

Today I'll look at five unexpected products that can reduce you and your friend's electric bills.

Friday, November 19, 2010

News Roundup - TopTenUSA Will Help You Save, and Energy Star Updates

TopTenUSA Will Help You Save

I just came across an interesting site called TopTenUSA. They focus on the top 10 most energy efficient products in a number of different product sets, ranging from electronics to appliances. For example, they have categories ranging from small TVs to large TVs, dishwashers to washing machines, and much more. While I'd love to see them expand, they cover the 'big ticket' items that make the most difference.

As I've talked about before, paying $100 or even $200 more for a more efficient TV or washing machine can pay for itself, possibly several times over, within the life of the product. So it makes a lot of sense to consult sites like TopTenUSA before making these purchases.

Energy Star Looking At Tiered Approach

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Ways to Reduce Water Heating Costs

Hot water heaters are often the most overlooked appliance in ones home.  They sit in the basement (or garage if you live in a temperate climate) and just do their thing.

Most home owners only tend to them if the pilot light goes out (which is more and more rare in newer units), or when they spring a leak.

However, with minimal effort, you might be able to significantly reduce the costs of heating water in your home - without replacing your hot water heater.  After all, reducing your gas or electric bill is the ultimate goal of this site!

With winter knocking on the door, now is the time to expend this little bit of effort.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How To Reduce Your Electric Bill (or Why Is My Bill So High?)

The entire purpose of Home Power Saver is to help readers reduce their electric, gas, and water bills. We do this by discussing changes in behavior, simple energy saving products, and improvement projects that most readers should be able to do.

Thus far I've looked at many specific areas where you can save energy and reduce your electric bills, but I have yet to take a holistic view of why a bill is what it is.

That all changes today, where I will dissect the average bill for an average family in the USA, and look at the prime target areas where the most savings may be obtained.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Efficient Landscape Lighting - Save $18 Per Year

I've thought a lot about LED lights in recent months, and the limitations LED lights have.

Then it hit me - low-voltage landscape lights are the perfect application for LEDs! I'm not talking about those solar landscape lights, which usually use LED, but traditional low-voltage  lights that plug in to a timer.

And it makes sense - brightness is not as much of a concern, color temperature is not as important in many fixtures, and these are lights that run for hours, meaning a quick payback.

A google search and check on Amazon revealed very few players, though Amazon carries an LED wedge base landscape bulb from a company called LED Wholesalers.
LED Light Landscape Bulb

I ordered a couple to test, and they work great. I had been using 4 watt incandescent bulbs previously (the lowest wattage I could find), so I am saving about 3.5 watts per bulb (I have three in my setup, so 10.5 watts total).

The LED "bulb" is actually a small circuit board with 6 small LEDs - two on both sides of the board, and two pointing up.  This configuration provides a even distribution of light, and it is relatively warm colored (though not quite like an incandescent).

I schedule to turn off my landscape lighting for about 3 hours in the dead of night, so on average my system runs 9 hours per day over a year. Given my power cost over 500 KwH is 14.35 cents per KwH, my payback (after including shipping costs) is just under 3 years.

However, when I look around town most people are running systems with 5 or 6 fixtures, and generally use 7 or 11 watt bulbs.  In a scenario like that (we'll say 5 fixtures, 11 watt bulbs), you'd save 37.5 watts, or about $17 or $18 a year, and payback would be right around a year. 

Not bad for an easily overlooked power consumer!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Eleven Habits of Highly Efficient People (Energy Efficient, that is).

Since the introduction of Home Power Saver, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about making your home more energy efficient through simple projects and innovative products. However, some of your biggest savings can be gained from simple habit changes. Following the tips below, you may save $250 or more per year, without spending a dime.

I’ve tried to come up with some simple tips and habits that will save you energy and save you money. Many of these are common sense, and you’ve likely seen them before. Hopefully a few are new to you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seven Holiday Gifts for the Energy Conscious

I know they are out there - DIY'ers and home improvement enthusiasts looking for projects - and what better projects than those that actually save money and improve quality of life!

If you are looking for Christmas gifts for one of those people, here are seven excellent ideas.  And be sure to check out the Home Power Saver Amazon Store for items sold by Amazon, categorized and commented on by me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Six Ways to a Green Christmas

LED Christmas Light
Judging by the looks of the local Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart, Christmas decoration purchases are in full swing.  While its tempting to buy those cheap incandescent lights (which can be purchased for less than 5 cents per bulb), you need to consider the energy costs in running those.  You'll find that LED Christmas lights will save money in the long run, run cooler, and be safer.

But buying LED lights isn't the only way to make energy efficient decisions for Christmas.  I've assembled Six Ways to achieve a Green Christmas.