Turning off switches, replacing light bulbs and dialing the thermostat up or down a couple degrees are tasks that take seconds a day and could save you hundreds of dollars a year, while alleviating environmental burdens on the planet. Energy.gov reports households can lower their average energy cost of $2,200 a year by up to 25 percent by integrating energy-saving practices into their daily routines. Long-term, making energy-positive changes means a more attractive home for potential buyers, as well as better national energy security.
Here’s how simple energy-saving improvements at home can do a wealth of good for the environment — and for your bank account.
Work to Conserve
Get in the habit of thinking green when using appliances and household items and unplug these items when they are not in use. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “always-on” appliances, such as that coffee maker that’s left plugged in all day, can cost households an average of $165 a year. “Idle load” electricity includes devices in off or standby mode that are left plugged in, those in sleep mode, and those that are left on but aren’t used.
Reduce Idle Load Consumption
Idle load (also known as phantom load or vampire power), is the energy that your electronics consume even when you’re not using them, or think you have turned them off. Easy ways to reduce idle load consumption include:
- Powering off your computer and unplugging it while you’re away
- Storing curling irons or hair dryers in a cabinet when they’re not in use
- Turning off fans when you’re not in the house
- Using a power strip to turn off multiple devices at once
- Switching off lights when you’re not in the room
- Pressing off on your TV remote instead of pausing the DVR
Reduce Routine Energy Consumption Habits
By cultivating proactive energy-saving habits, you can help both your finances and the earth. Aim to evaluate how you can shave off energy consumption in daily routines, such as:
- Letting dishes and clothes air dry instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle or the dryer
- Only washing dishes and clothes when the load is full to save water
- Closing air ducts, doors and windows, especially when using a heater or air conditioner
- Turning off water when you’re not using it
- Closing your fireplace damper
Upgrade and Save
Do-it-yourself upgrades can make significant differences in energy consumption and cost. For example, EnergyStar.gov reports air-sealing and adding insulation to a home can save up to $200 a year. Take inventory of energy-guzzling appliances and swap them out with more eco-friendly options. Some possibilities include:
- Replacing water fixtures with low-flow devices
- Installing compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode light bulbs
- Using solar sun rings for your pool in place of a pool heater
- Installing ceiling fans to use in place of an air conditioner
Consider technology investments to save long-term. Options such as motion-sensor lighting and programmable thermostats save energy automatically, while tablet computers use less energy than their desktop counterparts.
Whatever new products you purchase, check for the Energy Star label, as these products fulfill energy guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Save even more by conducting a home energy audit to find the biggest potentials for improvement.
Using a tool such as an electricity monitor meter can help you find energy suckers, while a professional energy auditor may analyze past energy bills in addition to inspecting each room, using methods such as a blower door test and thermogenic scan. By viewing your home in an eco-friendly lens, you’ll make the world — and your wallet — greener.
Content provided by SocialMonsters. Feature image courtesy of Stephen Thomas.