Being energy efficient is a lot easier than you think. There are two main reasons for energy conservation, to save money on your utility bill and to protect the environment. Most people don’t actually know how our every day electricity use contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is in fact quite significant.
According to Energy Sage, approximately 19% of the US national GHG emissions were produced by the domestic sector in 2016. 69% of that was the result of electricity use of residential emissions. The other 32% were from direct fossil fuel combustion for home heating. Looking at those numbers, it becomes very clear that implementing home energy efficiency can make a big difference in GHG emissions reductions.
It can also make a difference in your annual utility bill anywhere from 5-30%. Depending on the size of your household, this translates to $105 to $627 on average. We spend most on lighting and electricity, space heating, and water heating expenses.
Here’s how you can ease your budget, reduce your environmental impact and avoid waste
1. Keep your fridge away from your stove. Otherwise it reduces performance and increases energy consumption.
2. Replace your light bulbs. Although LED bulbs are more expensive, they last longer. Their efficient energy use means that they cost less in the long run. They use 25% less energy than fluorescent light bulbs and 80% less than incandescent ones, producing the same amount of light.
3.Turn off the lights when they're not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill.
4. Use natural light when possible.
5. Choose energy efficient appliances. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which is a federal guarantee that the appliance will consume less energy during use and when on standby than standard non-energy efficient models. E.g. ENERGY STAR certified washing machines consume 25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional ones.
6. To ensure your appliances are running efficiently, defrost your refrigerator and freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
7. If possible, wash your clothes in cold water.
8. Turn off heated dry on your dishwasher and air dry instead.
9. Use less air conditioning. Make sure windows and doors are properly closed when you are using air conditioning or heating systems. To seal air leaks between stationary objects, such as the wall and window frame, you can apply caulk. You can apply weather stripping for cracks between moving objects, such as operable windows and doors. You can also install a programmable or smart thermostat to reduce energy use when you are asleep or away.
10. During warmer months, close shades, blinds and drapes on the sunny side of your home to help keep your home's temperature cooler and reduce the work for your AC. Open shades during cooler months to let the sun warm your home.
11. Limit your time In the shower. Not only does a long shower waste an unnecessary amount of fresh water, it also wastes lots of energy. Water heating accounts for at least 15 percent of the energy consumed in your home according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Make sure to fix leaky faucets and consciously save energy and water by taking a quicker shower.
12. Use black computer or phone screens. Avoid using a “screensaver” with an image. Instead, leave the background black, as the energy consumed by the monitor to form colors is greater. Set the operating system to go to “sleep” after a certain amount of time.
13. Only turn on your computer, monitor, printer and fax machine when you need them. Turn your computer off at night.
14. Don't leave your mobile phone plugged in overnight. It only takes a couple of hours to charge.
More Renewable Options
If it's in your budget and fits your living circumstances, invest into solar energy for your home, or other forms of sustainable, renewable energy.
If you live in Southern California, you might already be on a Green Power plan by Southern California Edison, if that's your energy provider. They partnered up with Clean Power Alliance (CPA) in 2019. How it works is that Clean Power Alliance purchases clean power and Southern California Edison (SCE) delivers it. SCE will continue to deliver power to your home or business, send one bill, and be responsible for resolving any issues with your electricity service. If you are unaware, call and find out! They have different plans from 36%, 50% to 100% renewable energy for you to choose from.
Did you know....
Renewable sources such as geothermal and hydropower provide effectively all of Iceland's electricity. In the US we have a long way to go, but the Land of Fire and Ice is beautifully demonstrating that it's possible. Meanwhile over here, change what you can and where you can.
I'll leave you with a trailer for the Netflix eco-series 'Down To Earth' with Zac Efron. It's definitely worth watching what the rest of the world is doing for environmental sustainability. It's very inspiring! Little warning, you might want to move after watching it. Hint, Iceland is featured. 😉
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