Finding Renewable Energy at Home

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Finding ways to use renewable energy at home is now even easier with many products touting the ability to save and reduce the amount of energy we consume.

A quick trip to the local hardware store can help you get started in the right direction. Replace your outdoor lights illuminating your front door with solar light bulbs. They can emit just as much light as traditional ones and will last much longer, depending on the season and where you live.

Even simple, short-term solutions can help reduce your electric bill and help you leave less of a carbon footprint.

Various types of motion sensors are sold for light bulbs, ceiling fans and other products. The sensors can detect when there is inactivity in a room and will turn off after a few minutes. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to install, said William Holt, urban environmental studies program coordinator at Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham, Ala.

Unplugging appliances that are used infrequently such as your toaster, printer or shredder is also beneficial, Holt said. Household appliances still use energy even if they are turned off.

Even your watch can be operated with solar now and helps you cut down on the amount of batteries that need to be purchased, preventing them from taking up space in a landfill later on, he said.

Instead of buying expensive fertilizer and pre-mixed potting soils, consumers can compost their waste and use that for their yard and flowers.

"If you have a couple of million people making a small change, it actually adds up to a large change for society," Holt said.

Inspecting the physical separator between the interior and the exterior environment of a building, consumers can insulate and seal leaks, said Standard Energy Solutions, the energy efficiency business of Standard Solar. Insulation and air sealing in the proper places will keep cool air in and reduce the amount of hot air that enters. Homes often have rooms that do not reach the same temperature as the rest of the home and become either too hot or cold.