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Setting the Record Straight About Going Green

Confused or overwhelmed about the benefits and drawbacks of making your home a little more green? Your friendly neighborhood Mr. Electric® professionals are here, helping you understand the bigger picture in your quest for a greener life.

Don’t let your quest to go green be thwarted by these common myths and misconceptions:

Myth: Newer homes are more energy efficient.

Truth: Age doesn’t have as much to do with efficiency as how your home is outfitted.

Energy consumption has more to do with having a green home than age. Newer homes with added square footage, vaulted ceilings and an array of high-tech electronics often consume a great deal of energy. Rather than upgrading, consider the size home that adequately fits your needs. With the help of an energy audit, air sealing and insulation, and efficient appliances, you’ll be well on your way to a green home, regardless of age.  

Myth: Investing money in wind, solar or geothermal is the only way to save on my monthly energy bill.

Truth: Stopping your house from leaking like a sieve is an effective – and less cost prohibitive – investment.

Simply plugging gaps, holes and other air leaks in your home and beneath insulation in your attic can reduce your demand for nonrenewable energy by up to 40 percent. Thinking about investing in a little new insulation? Don’t sweat it if the top-of-the-line insulation is out of your price range – all insulation is green. Go with what’s in your price range today and get those heating and cooling bills down tomorrow. There’s nothing greener than reducing energy consumption.

Myth: The eco-friendly label on that product I just purchased means I’m headed in the right direction.

Truth: You may be getting ripped-off.

Don’t become brainwashed by greenwashing companies who put more thought into labeling their products to gain your purchase than into sustainability practices. Avoid deceitful marketing tactics by getting to know which labels are truly green in your local hardware store:

  • Energy Star
  • GreenSeal
  • UL Environment
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • Scientific Certification Systems
  • Good Housekeeping Green Seal

Myth: Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy saving alternatives is too expensive.

Truth: Holding on to those incandescents will cost you far more in the long run.

Replacing those old incandescents with CFLs or LEDs pays for itself over the lifespan of the bulbs, which not only use a fraction of the energy, but last far longer as well. Aren’t you tired of repeatedly replacing burnt out bulbs?

Myth: Turn the lights off when you leave the room to save money.

Truth: It depends on the bulb.

Huh? You heard right. Incandescents and halogens should ALWAYS be turned off when you leave the room. Why? They are less efficient. CFLs, however, are a bit more complicated. They cost 75 percent less to operate than an incandescent. However, turning them on and off reduces their operating life, which can cost you more in bulb replacements. The Department of Energy’s advice: If you’ll be out of the room for 15 minutes or less, leave it on.

Myth: Turning off your appliances means they are not consuming power.

Truth: You don’t know about “vampire power.”

Items with a power adapter, indicator light, standby function, or clock can suck up energy even when they’re turned off, draining you to the tune of 5 percent or more of your power bill. The typical cable box alone uses half the electricity of an Energy Star fridge. Multiply that times the number of these items in your house (TVs, computers, microwaves, cell phone chargers). To take a big bite out of your electric bill, plug these items into a power strip so they can be turned off when not in use. In addition, have wiring inspected to ensure poor connections and undersized wiring aren’t contributing to additional energy loss and higher bills.

Myth: Turning down the thermostat when I’m gone wastes energy.

Truth: The longer your heating or cooling system is turned off, the greater the savings.

Adjusting your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours a day can save you 5-15 percent per year on heating and cooling costs – 1 percent for each degree it’s set back. Make the savings hassle-free with the installation of an inexpensive programmable or Wi-Fi home thermostat.

Myth: One person can’t save the world.

Truth: You are not alone.

With globalization, it’s easy to see how dramatically one person’s choices can effect another. Inspire change around you with your actions for an exponential impact that can be felt around the world. How do you want to impact the planet and future generations today?

What’s sucking the green out of your life? Mr. Electric can help you figure it out. Contact us for a complimentary energy audit or home electrical safety check-up today.