Lowering our energy usage not only reduces our household energy costs, it also contributes to lowering our carbon footprint.
When someone mentions being energy efficient in the home, the first thing many homeowners usually think of is appliances. Yes, when purchasing new appliances, you should certainly do your research and look for products with the Energy Star rating as these products are typically 10 to 20 percent more energy efficient than products that are not labeled as energy efficient.
However, you do not have to run out and replace all of your appliances to reduce your energy usage.
Here we will take a look at a number of different low-cost and easy ways to lower the energy usage in our homes.
Decrease Your Water Usage: Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth; Try to shorten the length of your shower and be aware of how long your standing in the shower after washing. (You could also consider lowering your water temperature from hot to medium to reduce energy burned). Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load, and decrease the amount of dishes you do by hand in between loads.
Reduce Your Plastic: Invest in a water filtration system and use refillable environmentally friendly bottles in place of purchasing large packages of 16 oz water bottles each week. Purchase paper or reusable straws instead of filling the landfills and oceans with plastic straws.
Shut Down That Computer: Computers are high energy users in households and in businesses. In place of using the sleep mode and screensavers, get in the habit of powering off your computer when it is not in use.
GO LED: LED bulbs use 75 percent less electricity then traditional incandescent bulbs. Also, LED bulbs last approximately 25 percent longer traditional incandescent bulbs.
Purchase a Power Strip: Turing off all devices at once by using a power strip will help to avoid paying for “vampire power”. Vampire Power refers to the power being used by electronics such as microwaves, computer, printers, chargers, etc that are continuously drawing power even when not in use.
Insulate: Properly insulating your home will help to keep the cooler air in during the summer, and the warmer air in during the winter, allowing your cooling and heating systems to work more efficiently.
Install Room Darkening Shades: Room darkening shades are a secondary way to help keep the cooler air in during the summer as they help prevent the sun from heating the inside of your home.
Rethink How You Use Your Cooling System: When anticipating very hot and humid days, try running your air conditioning unit early to keep the house at a cooler temperature instead of turning it on after the temperature has increased, which makes the unit work harder to cool the area down. Alternatively, try to use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning on the days when the heat and humidity is not as bad as they use much less energy to run.
Replace Weather stripping: Its estimated that up to seven to twelve percent of a home’s heat loss is around windows and doors. Replacing worn weather stripping will help to insulate and keep the warmth in during the colder months.
Replace Your Thermostat: You can considerably cut your heating bill by using a programmable thermostat. Turning down the temperature automatically when your away at work or while you sleep could allow you to save an estimated 10 to 15 percent on your heating bill.
Though this list outlines just a small fraction of the things we can do as homeowners and consumers, practicing these low-effort behaviors is a great way to start to reduce your homes energy usage, which leads to saving money and the environment.