If you care about the environment and protecting the planet, you’re interested in saving energy, but many people ask themselves; “what can I do to save energy at home?”.
Energy conservation and climate change has become a constant discussion over the past few years. News articles, advertisements and local political campaigns constantly feature buzzwords like “energy conservation,” “climate crisis,” and “renewable energy.” 1
Of course, while we’re ready to do our part, it’s not always easy to know what these terms mean for us on an individual basis.
We understand the way we live has to change, but what exactly is it all about, and what can we do?
Why is Energy Conservation at Home Important?
More and more people are becoming passionate about conserving energy in the home, and this boils down to two fundamental reasons: to save money and to reduce the amount of damage caused to the environment.
If more households use less energy (or a cleaner energy source), we’ll see a reduction in damage to the ozone layer, and we’ll reduce our dependence on fossil fuels which are non-renewable and harmful to the environment.
However, for this to happen in a meaningful way, we’ve all got to do our part.
Living a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your way of living drastically – you don’t need to start washing your clothes by hand or sitting in the dark!
The act of simply taking small steps to live with more awareness is instrumental in undoing some of the damage already done to the environment. These steps can be:
- switching to renewable energy in your household
- turning off the lights when you leave a room
- using energy-efficient lightbulbs
- using less water
- turning things off rather than leaving them on standby
- not heating/cooling your home when no one is in
And a host of energy saving tips we’ll get into below!
What Wastes the Most Electricity in the Average Household?
The answer to this question depends on where you live, but overall, heating and air conditioning are the biggest users of electricity. Of course, heating and cooling your home is often essential, but you can cut back by only using your heating and cooling when necessary.
What is the Average Electric Bill for a House and Apartment?
According to Finance Guru in 2017, the average American household pays $111.67 for electricity per month. This average takes a huge range of homes and households into account, and some states have significantly higher electricity usage than others. Louisiana has the highest average monthly electrical bill, while New Mexico’s average electricity bill is almost a full $20 less each month.
Does Unplugging Things Save Money?
Sure! If it’s unplugged, it can’t use electricity. Even when turned off, many appliances continue to draw power, and the same goes for chargers — whether or not a device is even charging!
That means your laptop and phone charger may continue to use power even when they aren’t in use. This seemingly small problem can equate to 8% of your home’s annual electricity! Of course, this is easily fixed just by unplugging anything that is not in use.
How Can I Keep My Electricity Bill Down?
Thankfully, saving energy and reducing your electricity bill are intrinsically linked, so if you do one, you’ll also do the other!
Here are six ways you can keep your energy bills down:
1. Turn off the lights: 5% of your bill is due to lighting, but this can increase if you’re not careful. One really simple habit to form is just to turn off lights when you leave a room.
2. Switch to an unlimited energy subscription: one of the main benefits of swapping to an unlimited energy plan is that you never have to worry about seasonal or monthly fluctuations in your bill. Know exactly how much you are paying each and every month for consistent budgeting.
3. Swap out old lights with energy-saving bulbs: switch to energy-saving light bulbs. This includes LEDs. If you use CFL and LEDs, don’t turn them off if you’re going to be out of the room for 10 minutes or less, because they actually use more power turning on and off than they do to run for that time.
4. Stop leaving things on standby: this goes double if you have “old” electronics.
Use smart technology: smart technology is an upfront investment but will save you money (and energy) in the long run. It can turn lights on and off if you forget, turn heating on an hour before you get home, and more.
5. Upgrade old appliances: looking for an excuse to replace your old dishwasher? It’s likely using a ton more energy than a modern one would – even a cheap one, so go ahead and upgrade.
6. Unplug or turn off plugs at the wall if something isn’t in use: we talked about this before, but it’s something we really don’t do but can significantly help us lower our bills and save energy.
How Can I Save More Energy at Home?
High levels of water use often goes hand and hand with high levels of energy use in the home. The way we use our dishwashers and washing machines can make a huge difference in the amount of energy we use at home.
Here are some more great tips on how to save more energy at home:
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before you use it – running a half-empty dishwasher wastes large amounts of energy
- Use any appliance’s eco-mode
- Make sure your washer is full
- Try to use a cooler temperature
- Consider drying your clothes outside if it’s warm instead of using the dryer
- Turn off your outside lights at night if possible
How to Save Energy at Home During the Summer
Here are 6 ways to save energy at home during summer:
- Replace your air-con’s air filters once every three months. (50% of your bill is due to your air-con, so this will help it stop working so hard.)
- As we said above, consider drying your clothes outside
- Ensure your fridge and freezers are fully closed
- Shower with cooler water
- Don’t leave lights on during the day
- Turn off your air-con when you can
How to Save Energy at Home During the Winter
Here are 6 ways to save energy at home during winter:
- Turn the heat down – keep it at a temperature where you need a sweater
- Put your heating on a timer so it comes on when you need it
- Turn your heating off when no one’s home
- Always do a full load in the dryer
- Turn off lights in rooms you aren’t using
- Use your fireplace if you have one that works
How Can We Save Energy in Our Daily Lives Outside the Home?
Just like getting into the habit of switching off appliances that aren’t in use, living a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated.
- Here are a few simple switches you can make in your everyday life:
- Use reusable items – single-use plastics and other items take a lot of energy to make
- Encourage your place of work to turn their heating off at the weekends
- Shut down your work computer entirely
- Put your cell phone on energy-saving mode so you don’t have to charge it as frequently
- Recycle whenever possible – most of what is recycled is used to produce more energy
Why You Should Consider Clean Energy for Your Home
Clean energy (also known as sustainable energy) and is derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources. In other words, it is energy that is drawn from natural processes that are regenerative over short periods and can’t be depleted. The most common renewable energy resources are solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.
Examples of clean energy use in the home may include: using energy-efficient light bulbs, installing solar panels, and insulating your attic.
Energy efficiency can benefit your home in a myriad of ways:
- It can save you money by lowering your electric and gas utility bills.
- It can maintain the temperature of your home, making it more comfortable.
- It improves the indoor air quality that your family and pets breathe every day.
- It maintains the longevity of your home and increases its overall value.
- It may correct several underlying health hazards and safety issues from gas-emitting equipment.
- It can increase your household’s level of independence, reducing your home’s dependence on natural resources like oil and coal.
- It can significantly reduce the harmful effect your home has on the environment.
Overall, there are very few – if any – downsides to reducing the amount of energy you use in your home. You’ll save money, improve air quality, and you’ll be taking steps towards a cleaner and more sustainable lifestyle.