HOUSE GARDEN — In every room of your home, you will likely find numerous appliances, appliances, and fixtures that rely on the electrical grid for power. Together, they affect your carbon footprint more than you may realize. Switching to lower-carbon alternatives can help you be a better environmental steward while reducing your dependence on electricity.
As a father, husband, homebuilder and real estate agent, I believe it is important to make smart choices for a cleaner today and greener tomorrow. Matt Blashawhome contractor, certified real estate agent and host of HGTV’s “Build it Forward.” “We all want to be good stewards of the earth. I want people to think beyond planting or recycling a tree. The time is now right to choose a diverse, low-carbon energy mix to power our homes and businesses.”
Consider these eco-friendly upgrades from Blashaw and the experts at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to decarbonise the earth:
Programmable thermostats and smart plugs don’t save electricity on their own, but they help you become more aware of your energy consumption and adjust your consumption to avoid waste. The introduction of programmable thermostats made it possible to adjust the temperature in the house when you are not there or when you are sleeping.
Some smart thermostats take it a step further by learning your household habits and adjusting the temperature according to your usage patterns. You can also make adjustments remotely and with some models you can control specific zones or rooms independently of each other, so you only use the energy you really need. Combined with low-carbon, efficient HVAC units, smart thermostats can help reduce the impact on the planet.
A short video about smart thermostats.
Like programmable thermostats and smart plugs, motion sensors help manage your energy consumption. Motion sensors ensure that you only use electricity to illuminate a space when it is in use or when the light quality drops below a certain threshold.
You may be in the habit of turning on a switch when you enter a room, whether you need extra light or not. Relying on a sensor reduces the waste associated with that routine and ensures lights are turned off when they would otherwise be forgotten in an empty room.
You might be surprised at how much difference it can make to swap appliances for another energy source. According to PERC, propane appliances are more efficient and produce less greenhouse gases than electric appliances. Propane-powered clothes dryers, for example, generate up to 42% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to electric dryers. They also dry clothes faster than electric dryers, and the moist heat is gentler on fabrics and can even help reduce wrinkles and static.
Similarly, propane cooking stoves generate up to 15% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to electric stoves, while also allowing better control of heat levels. Plus, their instant flame shutdown helps them cool down faster than electric heaters, which can remain dangerously hot after being turned off.
Nearly a third of the energy loss in your home can be attributed to windows, especially if they are older or in poor condition. Even windows in good condition can be a source of energy loss if there is only one pane or if there are air leaks around the frame.
Upgrading to double- or triple-glazed windows can be costly, but making more cost-effective improvements such as caulking and weatherstripping can reduce energy loss through windows. You can also rely on window treatments such as curtains or blinds, awnings or vegetation that provide shade to help manage how your windows contribute to your energy needs.
A short video about choosing energy efficient windows.
Tankless water heaters
Traditional water heaters hold a tank of heated water at all times. Reheating and heating the same water over and over is inefficient and wasteful. Conversely, tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it, reducing your energy consumption and saving you money. Because the water heats when you need it, you don’t have to worry about running out of hot water.
In addition, the energy source of your boiler can provide even greater savings. Switching from an electric water heater to a propane-powered tankless water heater could prevent more than a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions per year from being released into the atmosphere, the same amount produced by driving a car more than 3,000 miles, according to the report. PERC.
You can think of ceiling fans as design elements and comfort features, but they also play a role in your home’s energy consumption. Moving air feels cooler than still air, so circulation not only makes the air feel fresh, but you can also keep your room temperature higher and still feel cool and comfortable. If you opt for a smart ceiling fan, you can maximize your savings by scheduling the fan into your regular routines instead of wasting energy circulating air when you’re not using the room.
Harnessing the sun’s energy is often thought of as the ultimate use of renewable energy, but it can be costly to install enough panels to power an entire home. Many homeowners manage to offset their traditional energy use rather than replace it completely. Implementing other measures, such as installing propane equipment or updating windows, can reduce the amount of energy required for the solar panels, making it a more practical environmental option for your household.
“The more diverse America’s energy mix is, the more reliable it is,” Blashaw said. “Propane can partner with renewable energy sources such as on-site solar to create a more efficient, cleaner and more reliable energy mix for homes across the country and accelerate decarbonisation.”
Find more low-carbon solutions for your home at propane.com†
Putting propane power into practice
As an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act, propane is a low-carbon energy source that produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel, gasoline and electricity in a wide variety of applications. Because it reduces carbon emissions at home, at work, on the road and on the farm, propane can help Americans meet their environmental goals in a fair and affordable way.
Consider these low-carbon facts from PERC for your family.
- Propane is a versatile alternative fuel used in nearly 12 million U.S. homes for domestic uses such as home heating, fireplaces, water heaters, stovetops, and whole-home backup power.
- American farmers not only rely on propane to power their homes, but also rely on it to run their businesses. Propane is used to irrigate fields, dry crops and heat buildings.
- Every day, 1.3 million children ride to school in 22,000 propane school buses across the country. Propane buses currently operate in 1,000 school districts in 48 states.