There are energy-saving materials and devices available that are not too expensive and save enough energy to justify their cost. Energy is used in daily living in a wide variety of ways. Precious energy is consumed in almost everything we do, such as cooking a meal, switch on a light, watching television, taking a shower, or washing clothes. When the weather turns cold or hot, the wind blows, or we have rain, energy is consumed to compensate for these conditions.
Of the many factors that influence internal temperature, the most important is outside weather. If it is cold outside, heat is lost through the living unit in may ways:
- By ex-filtration, the conduction of heat through the exterior surfaces and leakage of warn air to outside through cracks in windows, walls, and doors.
- By infiltration, the leakage of cold outside air into the house.
- By radiation, in which warmth is lost to the sky and the surroundings. (A warm body tends to lose its heat by infra-red radiation.)
- By heat loss through water drains. Energy is used to heat water. As the hot water goes down the drain, this energy is lost from the home.
It has been estimated that as much as 40 percent of heat loss is due to ex-filtration and infiltration.
Heat is generated and gained in living quarters by appliances, electric lights, and people. Some heat is also gained through solar energy, even in the standard home. In cold weather, the difference between heat loss and heat gain must be made up by some type of heating unit to maintain a comfortable temperature range of 68 to 78 degrees F. (20 to 26 degrees C). In addition, energy is used to clean the air and to add humidity for comfort.
In warm weather, many of the same factors are at work. When the outside temperature is greater than the indoor temperature, heat tends to flow into the house (infiltration). To maintain comfort, an air conditioner (or central air) is often used to remove this excess heat. Excess moisture is removed from the air by a dehumidifier.
Always remember when you are remodeling or designing a new home to use different materials and methods to increase energy conservation.