Electricity and energy are the main forces behind development in all industrialized countries. In its numerous forms, energy as a source is rapidly getting depleted and inadequate for populations in many countries. With the advancement in technology, energy consumption is on a rapid increase and the demand is steadily outstripping its supply. Electricity and petroleum products are the primary energy sources resulting in increases in their prices worldwide. The costs of petroleum products have drastically increased globally within the past ten years to a high of $140 per single barrel in the United States (Sorrell, 2015). Increases in the prices of petroleum products affect the amount of electricity in the sense that the fuel costs are transferred to consumers in the form of fuel cost adjustment charges.
Each year, the US government spends a massive amount of its energy supply resources, and a significant amount of these energy resources consists of fuel from fossils that were created over a million years ago. Unfortunately, these fossil fuels are non-renewable. Similarly, a considerable amount of energy is getting rejected in the ambiance of the generation of electricity and the transport industries (Sorrell, 2015). This situation is as a result of the inefficient use of energy resources as well as inefficiencies in systems management.
Heat from waste materials can be used to produce energy for many other processes. It is however often difficult to relate efficient recycling and re-utilization practices to the sources. On the contrary, it would be convenient to convert heat from waste products in to electrical power to be used in many applications. Acquiring electricity using more conventional methods would allow for more stable and high energy supply (Rocha, Siddiqui, and Stadler, 2015). Because of the ever increasing cost of electricity and lack of government efforts to utilize heat from waste products, it is imperative that consumers come up with viable strategies that will help them reduce their energy consumption and in turn, save themselves many costs that come from high usage.
For this reason, therefore, it is essential to analyze and evaluate different methods that can be used by consumers to reduce the amount of electricity that they consume. Although previous researches have been conducted to determine how the government can increase the supply of electricity using other methods, much work has not been done regarding how consumers can save themselves excessive costs by reducing the amount of their electricity consumption. This research, therefore, aims to identify energy saving strategies that would lead to lower consumption of energy and in turn decrease the cost of electricity being consumed by customers. The study specifically looks at how lighting and proper placement can be used to reduce the consumption of power and ultimate values.
Primary energy sources in the world such as natural gas, petroleum, uranium, and coal are becoming scarce. There is a dramatic influx in the primary consumption of energy that has resulted in increased growth of human social and economic activities. Research shows that with the current consumption rate, obtaining all the different types of fuel may become difficult by mid next century (Kobus, Klaassen, Mugge, and Schoormans, 2015). Additionally, an increase in industrial activities has led to a steady rise in carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere, thus resulting in increased atmospheric temperatures popularly referred to as global warming.
Research also shows that at present, the average American household spends an estimated $113 a month on energy utilities and the prices keep rising steadily (Kobus et al., 2017). Advancements in technology have gotten many American fascinated, and they can now afford to purchase many household electrical appliances such as television, computers, refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners. This results in a high increase in energy consumption and ultimately high costs of energy.
Many Americans are continuously spending a considerable amount of money on electricity at the expense of meeting other essential needs. Research also shows that if these current trends do not stop, industrial development and global growth will lead to double consumption of electricity by the year 2030 (Castaneda, Franco, and Dyner, 2017). This situation is a problem that consumers and policymakers should handle. However, the good news is that there are ways to reduce current consumption and reduce the overall cost incurred by consumers. These methods will be discussed in the study.
The significance of the Study
With the rapid advancements in technology, many Americans are becoming unaware of their electricity consumption in terms of charging electrical devices, lighting and using machinery such as air conditioners, heating systems, and washing machines. With energy supply becoming more and more reduced, and the cost of electricity rapidly increasing, it is imperative that consumers come up with strategies that will help reduce consumption and in turn reduce costs. This study is therefore significant in these current times because it evaluates some methods that can be used to reduce consumption of electricity. By learning about these methods, consumers will be able to manage their consumption better and in return save money to be used for other basic demands.
Even with the ever-increasing need for people to own and use modern technological devices, the question of conserving and efficiently using electricity remains an issue of concern. Reducing consumption of electricity shall always remain a primary goal for energy ministries to target the best strategies to obtain conservation. Efficient use of energy can result in energy saving at all levels; national, international, sectoral, and individual (Chen and Kwok, 2010). The effects of energy conservation can lead to effective socio-economic outcomes that can be beneficial for the entire world. When the actual savings resulting from efficient energy use turnout to be less than initially predicted, this will undermine the success of any form of intervention (Chen and Kwok, 2010). For this reason, policymakers must investigate why lower than expected results occurred and devise methods through which responses could be made to bring about more energy saving.
The first strategy to utilize to reduce energy consumption is the use of cost-efficient lighting methods. For a typical house, lighting represents 35% of the overall electrical consumption. Many households use expensive lighting methods that result in high amounts of energy consumption. According to Soori and Vishwas (2013), lighting consumes the most substantial amount of electricity in many buildings. It is one of the primary areas that provide many opportunities to improve energy efficiency thus, reducing consumption. It is crucial for every house owner or building owner to cut down on their energy consumption to be able to save money. Energy conservation also helps to conserve the environment by lowering the consumption of fuel (Soori and Vishwas, 2013). For this reason, therefore, consumers should look in to ways of using effective lighting techniques to reduce their use of energy.
One of the ways to do this is through daylighting. According to Sedki and Maaroufi (2017), office and rental buildings should be designed and tailored to allow in natural light from the sun in to space. He contends constructors can use glare control devices to minimize the undesired effects of diffused light from the sun. Areas should be designed to utilize the benefit of better window access. Chidiac, Catania, Morofsky, and Foo (2015) agree that using daylight is especially cost-effective for businesses which have payback periods of less than a year. He argues that using natural light in buildings has many advantages in terms of energy consumption. Office buildings and house constructors should, therefore, achieve this by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Natural light is more efficient as compared to electrical light because it not only provides more light for little heat, but also saves the cost of consumption (Chidiac, Catania, Morofsky, and Foo, 2015). Building owners should ensure that lighting at every work station and shared spaces lighting control devices are installed to allow workers and other people to alter the levels of light depending on their preferences and specific needs. Natural lighting for office buildings can be achieved through simple techniques such as skylights and windows.
For houses, there is a wide array of simple and less expensive methods of improving lighting systems efficiency. These measures include the use of ballasts and lighting lamps. The use of reflective and de-lamping techniques is also effective ways to reduce electricity consumption. Research also shows that the use of energy saving LED bulbs to replace ordinary bulbs can help save the overall electricity consumption by $75 every year (Chew, Kalavally, Oo, and Parkkinen, 2016).
Another strategy for reducing electricity consumption is through proper placements and positioning of electrical devices such as air conditioners and fans. For people who live in areas that experience the sunny weather throughout the year, air conditioning accounts for a large percentage of their electricity bill. For people living in colder environments, heating systems account for the most significant portion of their electricity bills (Sorrell, 2015). Whichever the case, these individuals can devise strategies to use the thermostat efficiently.
The first strategy is to check the ventilation in the rooms. Some of the vents may be closed thus making it difficult for the air conditioners to keep the spaces cool. When this happens, the air conditioners are forced to keep running above their target temperatures thus consuming more electricity (Sorrell, 2015). There is a widespread belief that when the vents are closed, it reduces energy consumption. This conclusion is a myth because evidence shows that closed vents raise energy consumption and ultimately energy costs.
Secondly, people should consider using fans in place of air conditioners because fans use up less heat than conditioners. Fans do not heat or cool the air, but they cause air to move around thus balancing temperatures. When air is evenly balanced in the house or space, it becomes easier to maintain ultimate temperatures thus giving the heating or cooling system less work. Therefore, fans should be positioned to move the air in the direction that is required to go (Kobus et al., 2015). Running the fan in the course of the air helps to even out temperatures thus saving energy consumption. During hot weathers or high temperatures, fans should be placed to move anti-clockwise to push the air upwards and out. On the other hand, during the cold weather, the fan should spin clock-wise to keep the air trapped inside and to maintain the heat.
From the literature studied above, it is clear that the use of adequate and proper lighting combined with appropriate placement and positioning go a long way in helping to conserve energy and in turn reduce energy costs.
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