Protecting the planet, as well as reducing the money we spend on utility bills are all valid reasons to want to conserve energy. It can be easily done just by making a few simple changes to our daily habits, as well as investing in some household improvements that over time will reap major benefits.
To put it simply, conserving energy is using less energy to lower the impact it has on the planet, as well as having lower household costs. It takes the form of both electricity and gas, and other forms of energy that you may pay bills for.
There are plenty of energy resources available but doing our bit to conserve them will help the planet in the long term, as well as your bank balance. So, let us take a look at the things you can do to conserve that energy.
Light bulbs are one the easiest and biggest ways to save energy. The more traditional incandescent bulbs consume a lot of energy unnecessarily, and they have to be replaced often. The reason the majority of people choose this kind of bulb is because it is far cheaper.
Something like the LED (light-emitting diode) bulb is more expensive, but it uses up to 80 percent less electricity than the traditional type of light bulb, and can last up to 25 times longer. This in itself means it is cheaper to run, because you are going to be buying a bulb less often.
A traditional light bulb will need to be bought a fair number of times compared to an LED bulb, and this will add up in cost, as well as run up your energy bill due to how much it uses.
One of the first things to do when wanting to use less energy is to change daily habits. This could be from turning off a lightswitch when not in the room, to choosing to air dry clothes rather than using a machine to do the job.
Other areas you can save money and energy are washing dishes using your hands rather than in the dishwasher, switching off any appliances you are not using, and not plugging in a laptop that does not need charging.
Two other major ways to save energy is by not using the air conditioner as much during the summer, saving it for when you need it most, rather than having it on all day.
In the winter, turn down the thermostat or only have it on when necessary to do so. Sometimes a sweater or a blanket can keep you warm, rather than having the thermostat turned up and doing both – that is having the heat on and having a blanket over you for warmth.
The majority of people can save a lot of dollars on their utility bills just by changing these areas of their lifestyle.
If you want to go one step further, purchase a thermostat that can use programming to tell the heating to switch off and on, and at what temperature. This can avoid heating the home for longer than it needs to be.
Also, doing this means you are eliminating any wasteful energy from cooling and heating without the need to upgrade the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. Some of these thermostats can improve the efficiency of the system because it will help to make it work better, and let you know if there is an issue.
Having this kind of programmable help will save you around $100 or more per year on your energy bill, and most can be programmed to fit around your lifestyle.
It is a common fact that the majority of us leave electronic appliances on standby mode, but did you know that this will be contributing to the use of around 75 percent of energy, and upping your bills by around $200 a year?
Using power strips will help to stop ‘phantom loads’ – the electricity used when appliances are switched off. They do this by ‘shutting off’ any power to the electronics when they are not being used.
They can also be programmed to be used at particular times too, or when the appliance has not been used for a while.
We use a lot of water, and heating up the water is a big contribution to that overall consumption of energy. Whilst you can buy a water heater that is energy efficient, there are other ways to reduce the expense.
Firstly, be mindful of how much hot water you use. Take more quick showers, and less hot baths. Secondly, insulate water pipes and the heater, and thirdly, turn down the thermostat to produce less hot water.
Insulate the Home
One of the major ways you can save on energy and bill expenses is by making sure your home is completely insulated. This can be done by sealing any of the cracks and air leaks that surround the home. This could be in air vents, doors and even windows.
Caulk is a good way of sealing air leaks when it comes to stationary objects like a window frame. Weather stripping is a good choice for anything that moves like a window itself.
Also, insulating the attic is a number one choice for keeping the home toasty warm. So consider insulating the home if you want to save a lot of money, and be able to use less energy from heating sources, for example.
Energy Efficient Windows
Whilst it is good to cover any air leaks of the window, you should also consider the type of window you have. A window can add on around 25 percent of the overall heating bill, so it is a good investment long term if you are planning to cut down the amount you spend on your bills.
If you live in an area of extreme and unpredictable weather, then consider storm windows to stop unnecessary heat loss. For those in generally colder areas, then gas-filled windows which have a “low-e” coating will do a great job.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Appliances can make up around 13 percent of all household energy used per year. This can be changed just by purchasing items that are energy efficient. To do this, take a look at two things: the yearly operating costs, and how much it costs to buy.
One of the things you will notice is the Energy Star label, which is a guarantee that said appliance will use less energy to run.
You may find that an appliance that uses less energy to run may cost more to buy, but just like with the light bulbs, their usage will cost you less to run.
There are many ways to be more energy efficient and to save money when it comes to the monthly household bills. Most of this can be done by changing daily habits, such as switching lights off when not in a room, to choosing to hand wash the dishes, instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
Another way is by making your home more resilient to losing warmth and energy, which in turn will mean you are less likely to switch on the heating come fall.
Making these small (and big) changes can impact not only your wallet, but the energy we consume from the planet. Everything you do can make a big difference.