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Earth Day – Home Energy

What you can do to make a difference

The situation:  Duke Energy has sought approval to build new coal-fired power units, leading sources of greenhouse gases – as growing attention focuses on energy efficiency, alternative fuels and global warming. North Carolina trails most of the nation in spending on efficiency.

What you can do:

  • Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use a fourth as much power and last 10 times longer. New models avoid the harsh white glare of older ones. 
  • Tweak the thermostat. Setting it a little cooler in winter and warmer in summer can sharply lower energy costs. Ceiling fans cool for pennies a day.
  • Install energy-smart appliances. When the fridge or water heater dies, buy replacements bearing the Energy Star label. They’ll pay for themselves.
  • Get a home energy audit. Local utilities may do them for free. Add insulation, caulk around outside openings and weatherstrip old windows and doors.  Now, there are quite a few firms doing energy audits.  This type of inspection is also good to do before purchasing a new home - along with your structural and MEP (Mechanical, Elec, Plumbing) inspections, and costs about the same.  This helps with planning your budget for improvements to the property.
  • Use what nature offers. Take advantage of daylight, the sun’s warmth, cooling breezes and the shade of trees whenever possible. Cost:  priceless.

Consumer tips:  www.eere.energy.gov/consumer
NC energy resources:  www.energync.net
Home energy audits:  www.duke-energy.com/north-carolina/savings/energy-audit.asp
Contribute to renewable energy:  www.ncgreenpower.org

Lindsay Daniel provides residential design services to Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding communities.