As going Green becomes more and more popular, it seems that the media is desperate to continue to appear concerned and informative — so much so that the NY Times put up an article about white roofs saving energy? First reaction? ”Gee, ya THINK?” But let’s not be too hasty. There are a great many very simple uses of basic physics that we forget about all the time. After all, it’s a no-brainer to turn off lights and other appliances when we’re not using them, too… and yet rooms and homes and TVs and printers sit idle, burning electricity for days at a time all around us… and in our own homes as well.
White reflects more heat. That’s easy enough to figure out. In warm climates, that’s a good thing. Some may say “But what about the winter months in cold places? Then a dark roof would absorb the heat, amounting to passive solar gain, right?” I certainly hope not. Why? Because, quite simply put, if your household temperature is that affected by sun on the rooftop, your home is nowhere near well enough insulated.
Back to basics means:
- Turning off lights when you’re not using them
- Shutting down computers that you’re not going to use for more than half an hour
- Turning off printers when they’re not likely to be used for more than half an hour
- Setting your freezer so it freezes, but isn’t a deep-freeze
- Insulative blankets on water heaters
- Insulate garage freezers with a silver mylar/bubble-wrap cover
- Use that same silver mylar/bubble-wrap on unused windows, to reflect the sun out and climatization in.
- Plastic over windows in the winter
- Insulating door jams and threshholds summer and winter
- Upgrading roof insulation — a MAJOR saver
- Insulate floors in crawl spaces. Heat leaks out and cold gets in from there too.
- Driving moderately; flooring the gas pedal uses exponentially more gas than a gradual acceleration.
- Brake moderately as well. Don’t ride up on people’s back ends. Instead, let off the gas before you get to a stop or bumper.
If you take an objective look around you and think on it, you’re sure to find many more ways that you can save without spending money to do so. Even the cost of insulation pays for itself VERY quickly, by lowering your heating bills. Going Green doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just go back to basics. These low-tech solutions add up to high-dollar energy savings!