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We all want to do our part to help protect the planet. Where is the first place we can start? In our very own homes. In making just a few minor adjustments in our choice of light bulb, fan and even our furniture, we can begin to make a difference.

Energy Efficient Design: An Introduction

I think it’s fair to say that we all aspire to have a home that personifies our stylistic vision. And to obtain this, we don’t have to sacrifice taste for energy efficiency; there is such a thing as “Energy Efficient Interior Design.” Now you might be asking, what is energy efficient design? According to Do It Yourself, (a website dedicate to home repair and improvement) energy efficient design is “the designing and planning of rooms and the specification of materials with the intention of reducing energy consumption in [the] home.” Basically, energy efficient design is interior design with an environmental bent. Who knew that being environmentally responsible was as easy as switching out some light bulbs!

Going with LEDs

Incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past with today’s LED bulbs. Cost-effective and energy-saving, LEDs (with an Energy Star rating) last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75 percent less energy, as found by Energy.gov. It’s estimated that by the year 2027, our energy savings impact in the U.S. will be equal to saving the electrical yield of 44 power plants. And as an added bonus, that comes to a total monetary savings of $30 billion. Clearly, switching to LEDs is a win-win.

What’s more, making the switch to LEDs isn’t design suicide. If you’re hesitant to make the switch because your worried and LED bulb won’t provide the amount of lighting you’ll need and will make your house look more like a hovel, worry not. Sites like Lumens who specialize in carrying lighting design brands like Modern Forms (among many others) offer an array of products expertly designed to complement the interiors and exteriors of any home. If you really want to make a difference, both in the neighborhood’s aesthetic and in the world, switch to LEDs.

Dust of the Fan

Fans have tended to get a bum wrap in the realm of interior design. I mean sure, if you go to your nearest super store and buy a white plastic desk fan for a room furnished in leather and mahogany, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb. But if you get a fan that reflects the visual story of the room, you won’t be making any sort of fashion faux pas.

Ceiling fans are a great way to save energy and are efficient in both the summer AND winter seasons. According to the United States Department of Energy, ceiling fans are the most energy efficient because “they effectively circulate the air in a room to create a draft throughout the [space].” When combined with the natural ventilation of the house, it’s wind-chill power can cool down a room in the summer and warm it up in the winter. All you have to do is change the rotation of the fan.

Kick Back and Relax

The furniture we use on a daily basis can make a big difference in our energy-saving practices. The Interior Design Pro says that no matter your décor style, furniture with that sits low to the ground and with a high back helps to eliminate drafts.

Even the way we choose to arrange our furniture in a room can save on valuable energy. By keeping our furniture away from the central heat and air vents, we are allowing the air to circulate. By putting a bookcase or hanging an art print along the wall, we can insulate the room.

Today, design students are creating modular furniture pieces that trap heat, use solar power and divide space for storage. With all of the information and tools that are out there, there’s really no excuse not to go green. All it takes is a little elbow grease.

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