Americans love a deal. There is a proliferation of websites that specialize in coupons of every kind, people camp out all night for big deals, and some sales have even become official holidays.
But while we are focused on upfront savings on consumer goods, people in the U.S. are less responsible when it comes to concerted actions to save in the long run. For example, when it comes to energy consumption, we allow for a great deal of unnecessary waste. That’s something that hurts the environment and the bottom line.
A recent survey from SaveOnEnergy demonstrated that there are a number of simple actions Americans are simply not doing that would reduce their carbon footprint and save money. These energy hacks would save average Americans thousands, but many either don’t know about them or choose to ignore them because of misinformation.
How bad is it? The study showed that usually less than 50 percent of those surveyed were taking advantage of relatively easy solutions to curb energy waste.
The sad part is that many of these “hacks” in the survey are pretty well known. For example, everyone has heard by now that LED light bulbs are better than regular Edison lights when it comes to energy consumption. Maybe if you also knew that replacing your bulbs would save you about $180 per year, you would be more inclined to switch.
If you still haven’t, you’re not alone — close to 50 percent of Americans are not using low-energy bulbs. And did you also know that the rumor that there is some special way you have to dispose of LED bulbs is a myth? You can recycle them just as you would a regular bulb.
Another pretty straightforward way to save at home is to shore up your windows in the winter. Closing seams that let in drafts would seem like a no-brainer, but over 54 percent of Americans polled say they have never even attempted to do it. Caulking cracks and just weatherproofing windows can save an average of $200 every year. That’s enough to put weather stripping high on your Christmas list.
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether it’s better to turn your computer on and off every day or to just leave it on. Most experts agree that turning it off is in fact better for the life of the computer, but one thing is for sure — shutting down is better for your electric bill.
Have three computers in the house? Turning them off instead of leaving them idle would save you close to $170 annually. Yet only 40 percent of Americans regularly turn their computers off.
You may have heard that you should unplug your appliances when not in use to save energy, but you might not know why. Many appliances use standby power at all times (it’s what runs the clock on your microwave, for example), and these leaching machines can bloat your energy bill. One of the largest culprits of energy waste is your printer. Just unplugging the printer on a regular basis could save you over $130 a year. How many Americans take advantage of this savings? Less than 15 percent.
Between just these four simple energy hacks, you could be saving close to $700 a year. But in addition to the money, not paying attention to these tips means higher levels of energy consumption for no good reason. Simple things that you can do could put us on the track toward fighting climate change and saving the planet.
Take a look at these and other hacks that can make you feel good about the environment and your wallet — which of these are you already doing and which should you start tomorrow?
Feature illustration courtesy of Shutterstock