Tips for energy saving in your home

With energy prices on the rise, it’s no surprise that most people are looking for ways to use less energy and reduce their utility bills.  The benefit of choosing to live more sustainably not only saves you money, but also reduces your environmental impact. Our ever-growing usage of energy is inherently illusory: the Earth simply can’t support it forever. It’s no lie that we are extremely accustomed to a standard of living that requires a good deal of energy to maintain. The good news is: you don’t have to make huge changes to your daily life to be more sustainable… you just have to be more conscious of it and make it a greater priority. Doing so will reduce your carbon footprint, save you money, and help society evolve into responsible energy users.

For a lot of people, the biggest hurdle is stomaching the notion that by retrofitting your house with energy saving methods now, you will save money in the long term. Whether you can afford to make small changes or comprehensive modifications to your home, there are options for every budget:

Energy efficient lighting

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LED lights. Both varieties use less energy and last way longer than your average incandescent. Though they are more expensive to purchase (but getting cheaper), CFLs can last up to 10 years, LEDs up to 23 years!
  • Replace your light switches with dimmers. You can then use less light and less energy…. Not to mention how relaxing it is to have dimmer lights at nighttime.
  • Use automatic sensors to trigger lights to come on when you enter a room, and off when you leave.
  • Find some fixtures for pendant lights that will accommodate your new sustainable light bulbs!

Energy efficient lighting

Automatic on & off timers

  • If you have electronics that you utilize at specific times of day, or those that you consistently forget to unplug, automatic timers will do the job for you.
  • Many people like to use timers on their lighting to take control of how much energy they are using. These days there is a huge range of chic floor lamps and other lights that include timers making it even easier.

Using appliances during non-peak hours

  • Most people tend to use the most energy at the same time, in the early evening.
  • Several utility providers offer rebates for using more energy during off-peak hours (i.e. doing your laundry or using the dishwasher in the afternoon or at night time).

 Mimic your grandparents: do more by hand and use common sense!

  • If washing your laundry by hand is out of the question (can’t blame you, but use cold water!), attempt to air-dry your clothing rather than using the dryer. Though clotheslines are great for quickly drying clothes outdoors in warmer months, standing drying racks can be used year round!
  • Same goes for the dishes. Wash your dishes using eco-friendly products and use a towel to dry them! It can be wonderfully relaxing.
  • Keep doors to unoccupied rooms closed, reducing what you need to heat/cool.
  • Wear warm layers before turning the heat up.
  • Be conscious of when to leave blinds/curtains open- warm your house directly from the sun!
  • Avoid running the AC on cool nights or breezy days by keeping your windows open. 

Grandma washing clothes

Develop stricter energy rules:

  • Make it known that irresponsible energy usage is not acceptable in your home! Though it’s hard to change habits, try using post-its to encourage turning the lights off or unplugging electronics that are not in use.
  • Remember…behavior change takes time; do your best to set a good precedence.

 Renewable Energy

  • Companies all over the country provide renewable energy alternatives. Find out who is in your region and make the switch! The more people that switch to renewable energy, the more competitively priced it will become (though it’s typically not much more expensive than providers supplying conventional energy).

 Get an energy audit

  • Most utility companies also offer free energy audits- a home visit from a company representative who will evaluate your house and inform you how to reduce your energy bill.

Retrofit your house

  • If you have the financial means to do so, you can make several structural changes to your home to reduce your energy usage.
  • These changes include: adding better insulation (keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter), patch up drafty spots, replace windows with better insulating double-paned windows.

Replace appliances w/ Energy Star appliances

  • Most new appliances are regulated to abide by higher energy efficiency standards, known as “energy stars”. Replacing your appliances with these appliances will use less energy and save you money.

Though it might seem like a costly or time-consuming endeavor to make all of these modifications, pick the ones that seem most realistic to focus on now, and create a plan to accomplish the rest. After all, most of these changes are less about what you will save in the short-term, and more about what you will save in the long-term.

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