percent of the energy used to heat water in a home. Talk with your plumber
Here’s a brief timeline taken from DOE data that provides an interesting perspective on energy conservation efforts.
1951 - The experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 near Arco, Idaho produces the first electric power from a nuclear reactor.
1970 - Electric power "brownouts" hit the Northeast during a heat wave.
1973 - The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries declares an oil embargo, sparking the first "energy crisis." Project Independence is launched with the goal of achieving energy self-sufficiency by 1980.
1977 - The U.S. Department of Energy is created.
1979 - The Iranian revolution sparks the second world oil crisis, doubling oil prices. An accident at Three Mile Island ends new orders for U.S. nuclear power plants. Federal program is started to increase nation's use of solar energy.
1981 – DOE is reorganized to increase emphasis on research, development, and production.
1986 – A devastating nuclear accident at Chernobyl renews global interest in energy efficiency.
1987 - The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act mandates federal energy-efficiency standards for many commonly used appliances.
1992 - The Energy Policy Act includes provisions to improve federal energy management, building codes, equipment standards and home energy ratings.
1995 - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change officially announces that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate."
1997 - Kyoto Conference on Global Climate Change draws international attention to environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels and spurs renewed interest in energy efficiency.
1999 – The DOE announces the Wind Powering America initiative, designed to significantly increase the use of wind power in the United States over the next 10 years.
2000 - The first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building is completed.
2001 - DOE publishes final rule amending energy conservation standards on central air conditioners and heat pumps.
2005 - The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offers residential energy-efficiency tax incentives and appliance and equipment standards.
2006 - Crude oil prices hit a record level of more than $78 per barrel. Average retail gasoline prices across the U.S. top $3 per gallon during the summer.
2008 – Crude oil prices soar to more than $140 a barrel. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 increases and extends tax credits for residential wind, solar installations, geothermal, biomass and energy efficiency measures.
about whether a drain water heat recovery system would work for you. It can capture waste water energy and use it to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. Drain water heat recovery units that have storage capacity can even store heat for later use.
14. Turn off game consoles. According to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Ecos Consulting, the increasing number of video games in American homes, the higher power levels needed to operate many models and the assumption that half of all users leave their consoles on because they don’t want to lose their place in the game are drawing huge amounts of power. Consider consoles with user-friendly power management features or, short of that, gamers should turn off their games.
15. Soak up sunshine. If you are planning a new home, include passive solar design. If you are remodeling, consider whether your project would benefit from a skylight or tubelight to provide daylighting. Make the most of your project by incorporating green design principles.
16. Deconstruct and recycle. If you plan to build or remodel, take a few extra steps to reduce the amount of material going to landfills and to limit the need to consume new materials. Check with local recyclers about removing materials in your old project or donate materials to Habitat for Humanity. Before buying new items, contact local salvagers about purchasing used doors, windows and other materials in good condition.
17. Use landscaping to cut heating costs. Homeowners in cold climates can benefit from properly placed windbreaks. According to DOE, a windbreak can reduce wind speed for a distance of as much as 30 times the windbreak’s height. Reducing wind speed reduces wind chill. The best windbreaks block wind close to the ground by using trees and shrubs that have low crowns. Dense evergreen trees and shrubs planted to the north-northwest of a home are the most common windbreak. Evergreen trees combined with a wall or fence can deflect wind over the home.
18. Clean refrigerator coils. It’s a task to do at least twice a year and more often if you have pets. The condenser coils are at the bottom or rear of the refrigerator. Dusty or dirty coils use about 25 percent more energy to maintain proper temperature.
19. Cook sensibly. Some kitchen behaviors are a recipe for waste. Use tight-fitting covers on pots and pans to trap steam and help cook food faster. Use microwave or convection ovens when possible. Microwave ovens use about one-third and convection ovens about two-thirds of the energy used by conventional ovens to cook the same amount of food.
20. Come clean about green. Wash full loads only. It takes about as much energy to wash a small load as it does to wash a full load. Use cold or warm water instead of hot when possible. Measure detergent—using too much makes a washer work harder. Line-dry items. Clean the lint filter so a clogged filter does not slow drying and waste energy. Consider eco-friendly products.