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Energy Efficiency: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

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There are so many reasons you should want to reduce your energy footprint. If combating climate change, reducing pollution and preserving the planet for future generations aren't convincing arguments ... how about saving you money? Wasting anything is money sent down the drain, and spending more on energy than you need to is no different.

Energy Efficiency, in a nutshell, is doing more with less. Taking a close look at your energy use and the efficiency of your home and appliances can save you a lot in the long run. Here are some steps you can take today that will make you glad you did, in the years ahead.

Heating & Cooling

Keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer account for a large portion of your energy use. There's little you can do to improve the efficiency of that process if heat is either escaping or intruding through walls, roof or poorly-fitting windows and doors. But you can fix all that.


Check the insulation in your attic or crawl space. How much is there? Is it evenly applied? Is there room to add some more? Are your walls properly insulated? One quick test is to put your hand on the wall in various places during a particularly cold or hot day. If the wall feels cool or warm to your touch, there may not be sufficient insulation there. When pursuing energy efficiency in your home or business, insulation can be your best friend.


The first thing to look for when inspecting your windows is: do they fit properly? Again, a low-tech approach of feeling for drafts coming in is a good way to start. New energy-efficient windows are usually multi-glazed (with more than one pane of glass between you and the outside) and can involve new, innovative materials or reflective coatings that help keep the outside temperature outside.

Smart Thermostats

Smart or programmable thermostats are designed to control the heating and air conditioning in your home in specific zones at particular times of the day. If you are out of the house or sleeping at more or less the same time every day, the smart thermostat can reduce your use of energy during those hours, and change back to the active levels of energy use just before you return or get up for the day. They're easy to program so that your living habits are reflected in the control patterns and they can save you money at times when you're not around or active. The latest versions are wifi-enabled, so you can change settings on the fly, from virtually anywhere. And some can learn your coming and going habits all by themselves.

Light Bulbs

Patented in 1880, the incandescent light bulb wastes 90% of its energy as unwanted heat. You'll still find plenty of them in use, along with the fluorescent bulbs that followed. The most energy-efficient lamp we have today is the light emitting diode, or LED light bulb, which is more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than its predecessors. There's an LED bulb available for just about every application you might require.

Energy Vampires

Take a walk around your home, looking for any energy vampires that might be drawing minute amounts of energy day and night, without you noticing. Along with major power wasters like heating and air-conditioning, which you can deal with using smart thermostats, there are other items that are consuming power even when not in actual use. Tweak the settings on your computers and other electronics to make sure they shut down when not in use for more than several minutes.

The transformer "bricks" that convert house power for use by small electronic devices are consuming power as long as they're plugged in. Once your phone is recharged, unplug the charger. Some people have multi-outlet power bars sitting on a counter with several transformer bricks plugged in all day and night. Make sure the power bar has an "off" switch, and remember to use it.

Energy Star Appliances

You can lower your energy costs by a large amount simply by investing in appliances and devices that sport the Energy Star logo. They are the latest generation of appliances and they have been designed to use less energy to do the same job as their predecessors. You can find Energy Star-rated washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, televisions, and other entertainment equipment -- even ceiling fans.

Explore heat pumps or solar panels to make an even greater impact on the environmental issue. While these appliances may cost a bit more at the outset, they can save large amounts of energy -- and money -- over the years to offset the expense. Be sure to ask the experts at Atlantic Energy about rebates and other discounts that can help pave the way to energy efficiency in your home.

Smart Energy Works

An answer to the old question: "Can I really make a difference?" is found in the fact that energy use in America has remained roughly the same since 2000, while the economy has grown by approximately 30 percent. This also reflects the time frame during which energy efficient measures have become commonplace.

Saving energy also depends on smart habits, like turning off unneeded lights, efficient loading and settings on washing and drying appliances for both dishes and laundry, and looking out for phantom power drains. According to estimates from the US Department of Energy, the average American household can save about 25% on utility bills by taking some simple steps to improve their energy efficiency.

Still confused about energy-saving techniques? Have the professionals from Atlantic Energy perform an energy audit at your home or business. For any questions about alternative energy options, contact us anytime at

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