This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.As a mom, saving energy usage in our home, and the financial savings that comes along with that, is always on my mind. Our first house was an older build and we learned the hard way about high energy. When we bought our current house, one of the top items on my list was energy efficiency. Our bills on this house are less than our old house, even though we nearly doubled the size.
Of course, like most families with two smaller children, we spent a lot of time saying things like "Turn off the lights when you're not in the room," and "Why is there a tv on upstairs when everyone is down here?" It has taken me large amounts of time to convince my children that just because they are in the family room, the kitchen and breakfast room lights do not have to be on too, or amazingly, that when it is sunny and the middle of the day, opening the blinds lets in enough light to do almost anything
Even so, we still look for little ways to save energy and lower our bills:
- Since we live in Texas, running the a/c in the summertime is a must. However, we've switched to leaving the windows open for as many months as we can get away with it, probably March till May/June, and again by mid-September through November. In the winter, we shut the doors and vents in the rooms we don't use which also helps with the heating bill.
- For dinner, we use the crockpot as much as we can. Not only is it more convenient for me (put the food on in the morning and leave it till dinner), it uses much less energy than our regular oven.
- I run the dishwasher and washing machine at night. I read years ago that it is cheaper/more efficient to do so. We just had rolling blackouts in North Texas and it was on the energy company's list of things to do. I'm a night person anyhow, so this has always worked quite well for me.
- I rarely use my dryer! The only things that go in the dryer wet are towels and sheets, socks and underwear. I hang all the rest of our clothes to air dry on hangers in the bathroom. It saves energy and prevents things shrinking in the high heat of the dryer.
- Curly-q light bulbs! I'm sure these have a real name but I have no idea what it is. My husband discovered them when he still worked for an Energy Star builder and we've slowly been switching our house light bulbs to them. They make a huge difference in energy usage, they generate less heat than typical bulbs, and I am convinced they are brighter.
- Sending the kids outside to play. It doesn't officially seem like an energy tip, but if they're outside, they're not inside using electricity. As an added bonus, they're getting fresh air and exercise in the process, which results in lovely quiet time for me.
GE is currently hosting the ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home, an open call for fresh thinking on eco-home technology and innovations that can effectively harness renewable energy for the home. This challenge is all about the power of networked ideas, collaboration and partnerships to accelerate innovation. What changes have you made in your home to make it more energy efficient? Do you have new ideas for solving the home energy issues you face? This isn't just the usual idea and tips that we all love to share, it's something much bigger than that! GE is looking for large-scale ideas from businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, students and every day people with breakthrough ideas for home energy creation, management and use. Do you have a game-changing energy idea? Share it with GE for a chance to win. You can also find ecomagination on the main ecomagination site, ecomagination Challenge Blog, Foursquare, Facebook, and YouTube.
And on this blog, I'm giving away two $50 GE energy smart LED light bulb that last 20 years and save you $85 in energy cost. Leave me a comment telling me:
Share with me what your energy use challenges at home are, for a chance to win a $50 GE energy smart light bulbs that lives 20 years and saves you $85 in energy costs.
The contest runs from 2/15/11 until 2/28/11, one prize will be given away each week.
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