Energy Efficiency Myth-Busters
I picked this up at my local Green Drinks meeting in Chicago. I don’t know who actually put this list together but it has some helpful tips for all of us Green Thinkers that are concerned about energy loss in our homes.
Myth: Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) are harmful for the environment because they contain mercury.
Fact: While it’s true that CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury (according to the EPA), CFLs can prevent mercury from ending up in our environment due to their energy efficiency. Because of this, fewer emissions are created by the coal power plants required to create electricity.
Myth: Leaving your thermostat at a constant temperature 24 hours a day uses less energy than setting your thermostat back and then having to continually heat up/cool down the air temperature.
Fact: The longer your house stays at a reduced temperature when heating, or at an increased temperature when cooling, the more energy and money you’ll save. This is because your heating or cooling costs depend mostly on the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor environments. When you adjust your thermostat down in the winter, or up in the summer, you reduce this natural temperature difference. If you set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours while you are asleep or at work, your energy savings range from 5% to 15% of your monthly energy bill.
Myth: When an appliance is turned off, it is no longer using energy.
Fact: Items turned off continue to consume power, sometimes as much as when they are on. There are a large number of appliances that continue to use power unbeknownst to consumers. This is called “standby power,” and can only be eliminated by unplugging an appliance.
Myth: There is no point in insulating ceilings and walls if doing so will just allow more heat to escape in less insulated areas.
Fact: The insulation of certain areas of your home will not place more pressure on less heat efficient areas. However, poorly insulated areas in a home do lose the most amount of heat and should be addressed before improving better insulated areas.
Myth: Washing dishes by hand uses less energy than running an electric dishwasher.
Fact: According to Gaiam Community, “this is one of the few instances where modern technology beats the old fashioned method.” A recent study showed that using a dishwasher does not require pre-washing by hand; this practice can waste up to 20 gallons of hot water.