Plenty of attention has been focused on large-scale efforts to protect the environment and combat global warming. Many often forget that any individual can contribute to these goals by taking small, easy steps at home. With National Cut Your Energy Costs Day coming up on January 10th, it’s high time to review some of the ways you can reduce your personal energy use and expenditures.
- Turn Off Devices When You Leave a Room
Your lights, television, audio system and other appliances use a lot of electricity, so if you’re going to be leaving the room, make sure to turn them off. You gain no benefit from having these devices running when you’re not present, so it makes no sense to pay for electricity to power them.
- Use a Programmable Thermostat
The use of a programmable thermostat, such as a model by Nest, can cut your energy use dramatically particularly during conditions of extreme heat or cold. These products will automatically adjust the temperatures in your home so that you aren’t heating or cooling rooms when there’s nobody at home. Some of them will even learn your schedule and program themselves accordingly.
- Implement Proper Bathroom Habits
Taking short showers consumes a lot less water and electricity than taking a bath. You can cut waste even further by using a low-flow showerhead. When brushing your teeth, don’t leave the sink faucet running the whole time. Your dollars will be pouring out of your pocket at the same time as the water is circling down the drain.
- Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Old-school incandescent light bulbs are much less energy-efficient than newer compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Switching over doesn’t cost very much, and your new lights will pay for themselves in a matter of months because they consume less electricity. If you want to take things a step further, LED lights are even more efficient and they tend to last much longer than either traditional or CFL lights.
- Cook Efficiently
When making large meals in your oven, try to cook more than one dish at a time. This will cut back on the time needed to heat and cool your oven, saving you from wasting energy. Many food items can be prepared more cheaply using your toaster oven, microwave or other low-intensity cooking appliances, so reserve your oven for cuisine that can’t be properly baked in any other way.
The areas around your doors and windows are subject to drafts if they’re not sealed correctly. Additionally, your attic, walls, and floors may allow hot or cold air to escape from your home, making your HVAC system work extra-hard for no discernible benefit. Make sure you have an appropriate level of insulation installed so that you can conserve energy.
- ENERGYSTAR Appliances
The Energy Star program is run by the Environmental Protection Agency and indicates that a given piece of machinery complies with federal guidelines on energy efficiency. Appliances that have Energy Star designation use up to 50 percent less electricity than their counterparts that lack such certification.
In addition to decreasing your bills, using less energy also helps the environment. According to Direct Energy, the electricity sector accounted for more than 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. It’s clear that our insatiable desire for energy is having a deplorable effect on climate change and the environment as a whole. Only by cutting back on our personal consumption can we hope to tame the beast that is global warming.
National Cut Your Energy Costs Day is a great time to focus on ways that individuals can do their parts to act in an ecologically responsible way. As the seasons change, stay informed of ways to reduce your electricity usage during the summer and winter months. Once you learn how, it won’t be too hard to curb your demand for electricity without making too many sacrifices in your lifestyle.