Quick Quiz: Which Saves More Energy?

It turns out that most Americans been thinking about their home's energy use all wrong. A joint study from Columbia University, Ohio State University and Carnegie Mellon sought to survey the public perception of saving energy in the home, posing these three questions amongst their study: What uses more energy, room air conditioners or central air? Turning off the lights or switching to CFLs? Line-drying your clothes or changing the settings on your washer? We've got the answers!

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Every bit helps, especially when it comes to saving energy. But could you actually save more by doing less?

It turns out the public is mostly wrong about what green moves save the most energy around the house. Here are three of the questions asked of study participants:

What saves more energy...

Room air conditioners or central air?
Participants in the study got this question half right, estimating that a central air conditioner uses around 1.3 times the energy of a room air conditioner. But the truth is that room units are way more efficient: Central A/C uses around 3.5 times as much energy as room A/C.

Turning off the lights or switching to CFLs?
Depending on how much you use your lights and how religious you are about turning them off, the answer to this question can vary wildly. But in the average household, switching to CFLs will save more energy than turning off the lights when you leave a room.

Line-drying your clothes or changing the settings on your washer?
The Department of Energy estimates the average energy consumption for a dryer to be around 3400 watt-hours. Changing your washer's setting from "hot/warm" to "warm/cold" saves around 4000 Wh, as mentioned by lead author Shahzeen Attari in response to a New York Times blog.

Via The Consumerist

(Images: Think Green T-Shirt, JunkFoodClothing; laundry line, keelymariescott.com; clothespins on line, photos8.com)


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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer in Atlanta, Georgia. Living in an apartment with her husband and their Boston Terrier, Bacon, she loves to entertain and hates having a tiny kitchen.