As an eco-conscious resident, you do a lot to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know every step (pardon the pun) counts, but how much do your individual efforts really achieve? According to recent research, it’s no small feat! Here’s how much you really impact building energy use!
The term “occupant behavior” simply refers to the actions a person takes within a building that affect that building’s energy use. A good deal of attention has been placed on developing new building technologies that are more eco-friendly. However, scientists have found that energy use varies a lot based on the occupants’ behavior; by as much as a factor of 10!
So, if energy use is that different from home to home, how much energy can we save with behavioral changes? A simulation conducted by Hong et. al. at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that changes applied on an individual scale can save almost 23% of a site’s total energy. The takeaway is that your actions have real, measurable impacts on the world around you.
The problems we’re facing are large, but you can make a difference.
Saving Energy at Home
You likely already know about many of the strategies for reducing energy use.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Open windows for natural ventilation
- Unplug/turn off appliances when you’re not using them
- Throw on a sweater or blanket instead of turning up the heat
- Open blinds/curtains for sunlight
- Make use of door draft stoppers
How it All Adds Up
Armed with the knowledge that those strategies really work, go out (or in) with renewed enthusiasm and save some energy! Tell others about the strategies you use, and encourage them to do the same. Behavioral intervention programs like the Home Energy Reports that some utilities send to residences have the potential to save $2.2 billion and 10 million metric tons of CO2 annually. Even if your state doesn’t participate in such programs, you can still work to reduce your energy consumption on your own.