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The recent natural disasters keep reminding us that taking care of our planet is urgent. The responsibility of making a change or at least decelerate the progress of global warming falls in all of us and not just in the governments or huge industries. But, how can we all help? There are a lot of ways, but we can start at home, saving energy.

Even though Costa Rica is acknowledged for producing 93% of its energy from renewable sources, taking care of this resource is still vital.Residenciesconsume 39%* of the production of energy in the country, this means that if every single home applies some basic saving actions, the effect can be exponential.

Wind Farm in Santa Ana, San Jose.

Wind Farm in Santa Ana, San Jose. Photo by smartgridcostarica.com

The following are easy and feasible actions you can implement at home starting now:

At the Kitchen:

  • Leave a minimum space of 4 inches between the refrigerator and the wall.
  • Place the fridge away from heat sources such as ovens or windows.
  • Check the refrigerators door gasket. Try to close the door slowly, if you dont feel that the door is been sucked in, the gasket needs to be replaced.
  • Never introduce hot or warm food on the fridge
  • If your fridge has a static condenser on the back, be sure to clean it at least three times per year with a vacuum or wet towel.
  • The fridge door should never stay opened more than 10 seconds, plan what you need before opening it.
  • Avoid storing food in the fridge in big pots or plastic bags full of air, as it will take longer to cool.
  • Check the level of the fridge with the floor, it will consume more energy if uneven.
  • Use pans or pots not larger than the size of the stove burner or the cooking zone of the cooktop.
  • When cooking, do not place the pots or pans wet on the stove
  • Use pressure cookers and slow cooking pots
  • Prefer convection ovens
  • Cook once per day and try to use the microwave to reheat the food for dinner

Water Heaters:

  • If you have a hot water tank check that the pipes are insulated
  • During the bath turn off the water to soap up and lather
  • Equip your taps with reducers of flows, mixing valves, aerators which limit not only the water consumption but the energy consumption as well.

Lightning:

  • Paint your house with light colors
  • If possible, install light dimmers in the areas of the house where high-intensity lighting is not required
  • Use movement sensors in transit areas of the house or rooms where you usually stay for short periods of time
  • Prefer the use of LED technology
  • Install timers in outdoors

Entertainment and Computers:

  • Turn-off all equipment you are not using.
  • If some of the equipment is used only for short periods of time, unplugged them
  • Create entertainment areas or a TV room for the family. Having equipment spread out in the house will consume more energy
  • Adjust the brightness of TVs, Computer monitors, and Mobiles to a 75%
  • Unplug all mobile chargers

If buying new appliances for your home, always buy energy efficient equipment certified by proper entities such like:

  • Energy Star from the EPA (Energy Protection Agency) of the US
  • PROCEL from Brazil
  • FIDE from Mexico

An important action that would require a larger investment but that will take a huge impact on savings is the installation of solar panels. Some financial entities suchBAC, offer special financing to equip your house with this technology. On their dedicated website for this program, you can calculate the energy savings and the monthly payments for acquiring the solar panels, based on the location and size of your home and the consumption of the past months.

If buying a home in Costa Rica these tips would help you reduce your energy bill but also take care of the planet. In case of building your home, you will have even more choices to live in a planet-friendly home.

The most important thing is to be conscious that we can all help and the responsibility we have with our planet.