Do you worry about global warming and the energy problems in the world today? Sometimes green initiatives don’t feel very helpful, and it seems like a big job to save the planet.
Yet there are all kinds of steps you can take at home to save energy and do your part. Every little thing helps, and we’ve put together a list of small, easy changes that can make a big difference.
Here are some great examples of energy conservation that you can implement at home today.
1. Unplug Appliances
When you’re not using the toaster, the coffee maker, or any other countertop appliance, unplug it. Each one continues to draw electricity when they’re plugged in, even if they aren’t turned on. Unplugging these appliances can help lower your electric bill, as well as conserve energy.
The electric draws of appliances in the off position are called phantom loads. You can use a smart power strip to help with this. It will automatically shut off power to the appliance that’s turned off.
Smart power strips can also be programmed to shut off at certain times of day or night.
2. Turn Off the Lights
When you’re finished in a room, turn off the light behind you as you walk out. Unless you plan to turn around and come right back in, it’s helpful to keep lights off in rooms you’re not using. It conserves energy, and it helps keep your electric bill lower.
You can take this small step to conserve energy in your home, even if you’re not super passionate like Prabir Purohit, Vice President of Finance at Dominion Energy. He’s passionate about energy conservation and climate change and encourages you to take small steps like turning out the lights to conserve energy.
3. Switch to LED Lightbulbs
LED lightbulbs use a fraction of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs do. They shine just as bright, and they actually last even longer than regular lightbulbs. By making the switch, you can conserve energy and also save a lot of money because you don’t have to buy lightbulbs as often.
4. Turn Down the Thermostat
In the colder months of the year, it can be tempting to turn the thermostat up when you’re cold. Instead, consider putting on a warm pair of slippers and a sweatshirt.
You could even turn down the thermostat a degree or two to help conserve energy. Your energy bills will be lower, and you’ll be doing your part to help the environment.
You can also turn down the thermostat when you’re not at home or while you’re sleeping. If you have a smart thermostat, you can do this remotely even if you forgot before you left.
The US Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 10% a year on your energy bills by turning down the temp while you’re at work. Take advantage of programmable thermostats to help you avoid discomfort by having the temp turned back to normal by the time you’re home again.
5. Line Dry Laundry
Consider hanging your clothes on an outdoor clothesline or an indoor drying rack to save energy. Even if you committed to drying one or two loads a week that way, it would still help with energy conservation.
Depending on your backyard and the weather in your location, these may not always be feasible. Yet every little bit helps, so making this small change for some, if not all, of your laundry needs, can be important.
6. Examples of Energy Conservation: Appliances
Buying a new appliance isn’t a small, everyday step you can take to conserve energy. Most people don’t have the budget to go out and buy all new appliances. However, if you do need to replace an appliance, take the time to shop around and find an energy-efficient one.
Dishwashers, laundry facilities, water heaters, refrigerators, and other large appliances all come in energy-saving models now. Ask the customer service representative or store employee to tell you about the benefits of the energy-saving features. They can help guide you to the best model for your home and family needs and prioritize energy savings.
7. Let Dishes Air Dry
Your dishwasher has a heat dry setting on it, but you can conserve energy by turning it off. When the dishes are finished washing, open the door and let the dishes air dry before you put them away. It doesn’t cost you anything to wait a little while, rather than using electricity to dry the dishes for you.
If you really want to save energy, consider doing a few dishes by hand every day. Even just the remaining half a load can save you a whole dishwasher cycle, conserving energy.
8. Investigate Retailers
One of the best energy conservation techniques is to check out the retailers you shop with, especially online. Many of them have committed to using carbon-neutral shipping methods or to being a carbon-neutral company by a certain date.
Investigate their websites and dig deep to see if you can find any stance about energy conservation. If you can’t, reach out to them with an email to see if they can answer your questions about their energy priorities.
It may be that the companies you shop at aren’t putting energy conservation first. If that’s the case, you need to ask yourself if it means enough to you to find another retailer that cares more.
Ask your friends for recommendations! You may be surprised how many other people care about energy conservation and prioritize their spending. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone.
9. Keep Track of Your Driving
You’re more likely to look for ways to save energy if you’re aware of how much you’re using. Commit to tracking the miles that you drive for a specific period of time, like a week or a month. You’ll be surprised at how far you go and how much energy you’re using.
If the results your self-driven study surprise you, think about you can conserve energy when it comes to transportation. Do you have a bike? Can you use your bicycle for one or two trips a week?
Could you shop at a closer store once in a while? Perhaps there is a store closer to home that you could walk to. While they may not have everything you need, perhaps you could stop there for small stock-ups in between bigger shopping trips.
Does anyone from work live close to you? You could carpool and share the driving responsibilities to help reduce emissions and be a more responsible energy consumer?
Do any other parents at your child’s school prioritize energy conservation? You could see if any of them are interested in sharing pickup responsibilities for the kids?
If you live in a city where public transportation is an option, consider taking the bus or the subway once or twice a week. Remember to verify routes and timetables before you commit to an appointment time. Public transportation isn’t always as reliable as other independent means of transportation, but if you allow extra time you can still be punctual.
10. Don’t Waste Water
Take shorter showers to help reduce how much water you use. Start by measuring your normal shower times, and then see if you can reduce it by a minute. Then by 2 minutes.
Challenge yourself, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can save just by paying attention or setting a timer. If you’re really ambitious, you can try taking a Navy shower once a week instead of a regular shower.
Did you know that if you switch up the pans you use when you bake, you can conserve more energy? Glass baking dishes take less heat to cook, so you can set your oven to 25° less than with a metal baking pan.
Take time to read the recipe before you focus on energy efficiency. If the recipe calls for a metal pan you can reduce the temp, but if it asks you to use a glass dish, cook it at the temperature in the instructions. Remember to cook meat to the correct internal temperature for health and safety.
12. Regular Furnace Maintenance
A new furnace isn’t always in the budget, and you aren’t likely to replace your existing one with a more energy-efficient model until it breaks beyond repair. However, keeping up with regular maintenance can also help you conserve energy.
Change out your furnace filters on schedule to keep your furnace from working harder than it has to. Check to see if your filters are monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually, and then set reminders so you don’t forget.
If you know that your furnace is old and won’t last much longer, start doing some research. Which kinds of furnaces are in the budget? Are you able to afford a more energy-efficient model if you sacrifice your morning lattes?
Saving the Planet
The above examples of energy conservation are only a few of the small ways you can make changes at home to help the planet. Conserve energy and be conscious of your choices when you follow the ideas here.
If something works well for you and your family, pass it on! Make sure to let your family and friends know that there are small things they can do every day to help save energy and be good stewards of the Earth.
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