Know how best to reduce energy consumption at your home

Toronto, April 1 (IANS) If power bills form a major chunk of your spending during the peak summer and winter months, researchers offer certain tips that can help you breathe easy.

A study, published in the journal Frontiers in Built Environment, showed that opening the window had the greatest impact on energy consumption during times when the heater was being used to warm the house, and using window shades had the greatest impact on reducing energy consumption during warm weather.

The researchers from Wuhan University of Technology in China and University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada recommended hanging appropriate window shades to help reduce energy costs.

For an increased reduction in energy use, homeowners should keep their windows closed during winter, add solar panels to reduce the heating loads of the house, adjust the thermostat temperature only slightly during transitional season and turn off lights when not needed, the researchers noted.

“I was interested to find the trends of energy use in typical households and to understand the consumer behaviour and the reasons behind high and low energy consumption. I have a strong belief that, if society boosts energy conservation (as well as other resources), we will have less of a challenge meeting future demands,” explained Gabriel Kamiel from University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada.

“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. The latter was obtained through surveying the inhabitants of the homes we monitored,” Kamiel said.

For the study, the researchers developed a holistic and integrated model which considered the building enclosure, the mechanical systems, the external environment, the proportion of window openings and the shading factor based on data collected from 270 households, including single and multiple units, as well as different heating methods.

All houses were located in the city of Oshawa, Ontario, which is located 55 km east of Toronto, Canada.

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