This guest post is brought to you by uswitch.
Has green energy traditionally been only within the budgets of the elite environmentalists? Not true. Green energy is not all about solar and wind power. It includes such things as energy efficient heating and cooling units, non-CFC refrigerants, pilotless gas ranges with electronic igniters and other cost saving measures that are less expensive overall. Energy comparison companies have been around for some time now and not all have had stellar reputations. However, energy conscious consumers are weeding out the bad guys and the good ones survive. Companies such as uswitch provide valuable services beyond energy audits and energy bill comparisons for the neophyte energy environmentalist.
Conduct your own energy audit and check out windows and doors, your appliances, and your living style. Part of living with green energy is reducing your environmental impact. Reducing your household’s carbon footprint can be done all at once or a little at a time. Each time a bulb blows replace it with a long life bulb. These are not only more energy efficient but reduce waste going to the landfill. Energy efficient light bulbs save in two ways. Less energy consumed equals lower installed operating cost per illuminated hour and the purchase price, while higher, is actually less than a comparable amount of standard light bulbs providing the same working hours.
Spend a little more to purchase Energy Star appliances when replacing old or out of date kitchen fixtures. The small difference in cost of an energy efficient range or refrigerator will often be realized in the first year of use through lower energy bills. The bonus comes from the fact that these appliances continue to require less energy for optimal operation and therefore the savings continue for the life of the appliance.
Pellet stoves are a great green energy source in that their fuel is a by-product of lumber mills and therefore using waste from existing product production. Going slightly off grid with the use of a pellet stove to supplement your heating system is a good green energy choice. Pellets are relatively inexpensive, easy to manage and the stoves themselves provide high quality heat with maximum wood consumption.
Solar lighting is another good inexpensive green energy source. Easy to install and with minimal maintenance, solar lighting is the choice for outdoor living, even in the winter. Solar powered patio heaters, walkway lights and pond pumps are among the many garden products offering high yields from free solar energy.
Sunrooms and windows can provide free solar heating without any added expenses. Opening southerly and west facing window coverings to let the afternoon sun flood the home with light provides natural heating thereby reducing the strain on the home’s heating system. Green and free uncovered windows are the ultimate in cheap auxiliary heating.
Using what makes sense to your home and your budget is part of the overall equation for any company conducting an energy audit. Talk to the experts; ask them questions about inexpensive green energy options and how to integrate them into your everyday life. Your energy budget will thank you in the end.