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Smart Living Journal

Tips for greening your home

Whether you are looking to build a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly home or to make simple adjustments to lower your utility bills, there are effective ways to go green and save money at the same time. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) presents tips that range from no-cost habits to larger, green investments and show you how to green your home and still enjoy the latest technologies and entertainment.

No-Cost Ways to Cut Energy Bills
Small changes can have a huge impact on lowering your electricity bill for your home or home office. If you're short on cash, try making these small changes to save big.

  • Unplug mobile and smart phone chargers - Electronics use some energy when they are plugged into an outlet, and cell phone chargers are an easy offender to target, as many people leave chargers plugged in to the outlet after the phone is done charging. Cut electricity usage by unplugging chargers after your phone is juiced up, and keep them unplugged until your cell needs a new charge.
  • Be power-wise whether you're a Mac or a PC - Most personal computers have management features that control energy use. Check out your computer's control panel to make sure you are using a low-power setting. Most televisions also have energy-saving modes, so check out your instruction manual to make sure you're lean and green.
  • Don’t forget the ‘Off’ switch - When you're finished watching a movie or playing a video game, don't forget to turn off your DVD player or video game console, as well as the television itself, instead of idling the device in standby mode.
  • Invest in smart technology - If you have a few bucks to spend, invest in a power-saving surge protector. Some can save you as much as 10 percent on your electricity bill. Plug your electronics, such as TVs, DVD players and audio systems, into the power strips, and turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. Just be sure to read the product manual first to make sure the strip is compatible with your electronics.

Installed Home Systems Make a Bigger Dent in Your Electricity Bill
New wiring systems integrate your lighting, heating, entertainment and security systems to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of materials used by relying on a central system. Smart meters and sensors make sure electronics are only in use when you want them to be.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label - Seventy percent of consumers recognize the EPA's ENERGY STAR® label, and with good reason: In 2007, consumers purchased 500 million ENERGY STAR®-certified products, saving them $16 million on their utility bills. If you’re in the market for new electronics and appliances, be sure to look for the little blue star.
  • Smart systems save - Choose lighting with dimming and pre-programming functions that turn off the lights when a room is empty to save energy. Room sensors can also be equipped to turn off appliances or adjust the HVAC system if a room is unoccupied. Check out your local electronics retailer for more information
  • Set up a central command system - No more forgetting if you turned down the heat! Home-control and automation products let you control entertainment, security, heating/cooling, and lighting from a central location in the home. Plus, who doesn't want to access music, movies, and photos with one touch? You can save space and materials by going all-digital.
  • Save more than energy - Registered EPEAT products like desktop computers, laptops and monitors meet 23 required environmental performance criteria, including the reduction in the use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency during the product's lifetime, and promoting recyclability and biodegradability.

Plan For the Future
If you're thinking about building a new home, or are considering a major renovation, think about laying the foundation for a green future. With green home building, homeowners save long-term through lower utility bills.

  • Mind your wires - Maximize communications, entertainment, security and control while laying the groundwork for future technological enhancements with structured wiring. In the Green Life Smart Life home, an integrated home system combines the family's current entertainment, lighting, HVAC and security plans, but it is built to be flexible with changing needs and to integrate even greener electronics down the road.

(source: Digitaltips)