The home improvement program

 

The house has been in the center of our lives since the dawn of civilization. It has also become in the last years a center for most of our expenses, from taxes to electricity and from water to heating.

In the US a typical household pays around 1400 $ a year for electricity while a family in Germany would pay around 1200 Euros per year. This does not include the cost for heating and cooling which can add to the final bill around 40%. Off course each individual case may vary but for the purpose of this example we will consider an average yearly expenses for energy for a house in the US of 2000 $ and 1700 Euros for Germany. In Romania we could assume that the average yearly expenses for energy are around 800 Euros.

From this amount we waste around 25% of the energy or per year around 500 $ in the US, 425 Euros in Germany or 200 Euros in Romania.

Considering that private houses are responsible for between 26% to 40% of the total Energy consumption, depending on the country,  we reach the conclusion that we are wasting between 6.5% and 10% of the total Energy produced. That in the US translates, in an optimistic scenario, to around 278 billion kWh, enough energy to power more than 2.5 million household in the US per year. At an average price of 12 Cents per kWh that is more than 33 billion $ wasted every year. And the situation is similar in Europe, for example in Romania we are wasting 4.2 billion kWh per year. At an average price of 9 cents per kWh this means more than 380 million Euros losses every year. We could build 100 km of highways with this money, a couple of world class stadiums or buy 20 F-16 Fighting Falcon.  And in addition to the billions we are wasting every year we are also having a huge impact on the environment by releasing, just for the energy that we do not use, more than 191 million metric tons of CO2.

This figures are based on average energy consumption data from the past available online. For details please check resources.

So where is this huge waste coming from and what can we do about it?

Well to answer this we should first have a look at the graph bellow to see what are the main consumers of energy in a typical household

Picture1

 

As we can see the main energy consumption is related to heating and cooling with more than 50% of total consumption if we consider also water heating and electronics with more than 35% in total energy consumption.

That is why in the future posts we will focus on providing  low-budget and eco-friendly solutions for improving heating, cooling and electrical systems. This suggestions will reduce significantly not only the waste but also the total consumption so that you can use the 500 $ that you save each year to take a vacation, by a new smart phone or whatever else your heart desires.

In regards to heating and cooling insulation plays a vital role and for more details about it you can check this advises from an earlier post.

But this changes are usually expensive and hard to make especially if you are living in a rented apartment. And since the summer is coming and this relates to an increase in energy consumption for cooling we will start the tips regarding home improvement with some easy to implement changes that can decrease temperatures in your home with up to 6 degrees without using air conditioning.

1. Use window blinds during the day

Blocking the sun at it’s peak can reduce temperatures in the room with up to 3 degrees Celsius. If you have no money to buy them or you want to give your room a personal touch you can simply make them from scratch. And if you get creative you might even turn them into a piece of art that not only helps the environment and saves you money but also makes you happy. You can find an example on how to create a roman shade here and for design inspiration you can click here.

2. Mount a ceiling fan or buy a desk fan

This can also reduce the temperature with up to 3 degrees and is relatively cheap. You can check out how to built a small portable fan here or you could buy one already made.

3. Change your daily habits and your rooms position depending on the season

This works best for people that spend allot of time during the day at home. For instance you might want to have your office facing South in the winter so you get as much heat and light ass possible from the sun but you might want to do the opposite in summer to avoid overheating.

The advantages of this options are that they reduce temperature and energy consumption, they can be fun to build and you can also take them with you when you move so they can be implemented regardless if you are renting or owning a home. Individual impact in energy savings can vary allot depending on the building  so it’s always good if you can monitor the progress in order to determine which of this tips are the best for your home. Please keep in mind that for special solutions it is always recommended to consult with a professional.

You can also check out allot of cool resources and ideas in the descriptions bellow. We will also share new tips about home improvement in the future so follow the blog, like us on Facebook, join us on Linkedin and keep saving money.

I am sure that there are many other tips on how we can reduce our energy waste and I would really appreciate if you would share your experiences and ideas in the comments bellow. Together we can make our home and our wallet smile again.

 

Until next time live green!

F.M.B

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Resources:

https://reconstructromania.wordpress.com/category/green-buildings/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Create-Your-Own-Top-Down-Blinds/

http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_the_United_States

http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia_electric%C4%83_%C3%AEn_Rom%C3%A2nia

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.PROD.KH

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/electricity-production-kwh-wb-data.html

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/each-year-75000-homes-waste-as-much-energy-as-contained-in-entire-bp-gulf-spill.html

http://homeenergysaver.lbl.gov/community

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/26/us-wastes-61-86-of-its-energy/

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090305091603AA3CBnG

http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/blogs/americans-spend-2k-on-home-energy-costs-annually#

https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/publications/foee_ecofys_saving_energy_june2012.pdf

http://www.wikihow.com/

http://casasolara.blogspot.de/2011/03/povestea-mea.html

http://www.termo.utcluj.ro/regenerabile/1_2.pdf

http://remodece.isr.uc.pt/downloads/brochures/Brochure_RO.pdf

 

 

 

 

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