Just about every American has run across ways to save money by slashing energy spending, but how do we know which methods are the most effective? People have tried some crazy and truly innovative ways to decrease energy costs, such as filling glass bottles and attaching them to their wall to change sunlight into passive heating. While this is a little extreme and undesirable for most homes, you’ve likely already been told to use the thermostat programming tools, use blinds, open windows to take advantage of pleasant outdoor temperatures, and decreasing the amount of electronic devices you use. However, a recent study has finally shed some light on which methods are most beneficial to energy savers.

The study used known mathematical models to calculate and measure the amount of energy that passed through walls, ceilings, windows, and other parts of the house. Yaolin Lin, Wei Yang, and Kamiel Yang (associate professors at Wuhan University of Technology) helped create many of the models used in the study. Furthermore, they collected information such as proportions of open windows and shading factors from 270 household units (of both single and multiple unit types). All of the data were collected from units based in Ontario. “The study is a first of its kind in that it related actual energy usage in typical households to the consumer’s actual trends and habits in consuming energy,” said Kamiel.

The Results

The results of the study concluded that the absolute best way to affect total energy spending when running the heater was by sealing and insulating windows. This can be done in a variety of ways such as rubber inserts that seal the bottom of the window as well as using plastic or rubber coatings in conjunction with heavy drapes. However, in warmer temperatures when residents are more apt to run their air conditioners, the best way to reduce energy expenses was to use window shades.

The researchers concluded that the following are the most effective ways to save money on energy:

  • Hang window shades to shield the home from heat and sunlight
  • Keep windows closed and insulated in the winter
  • Add solar panels to mitigate heating expenses
  • Use thermostat programming and rarely change the temperature (with exception to changes in seasons)

Adopting a Complete Energy Saving Strategy

Now that we have hard evidence showing the best ways to save energy in the home, there’s no excuse not to conserve energy and save money. In all reality, however, people should do more than only adopt the most effective ways to save energy. Every little bit adds up over the course of a year, and homeowners should do everything in their power to conserve energy – even if they have solar panels. Some of the smaller, yet no less important, ways to conserve energy include:

  • Turning off lights in vacant rooms
  • Unplugging electronic devices that aren’t being used
  • Shutting down electrical appliances when they aren’t in use (such as turning of a desktop computer instead of putting it in sleep mode)
  • Making sure your attic is properly insulated