Want to lower your energy bills? Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Whether you are motivated by money or by the environment, you probably want to use less energy than you do now. The question then becomes — how?
First, sometimes we are using energy for absolutely no reason. A plugged up charger connected to a device that is already on full battery, for example, is continually emitting unneeded energy. That means that perhaps it isn’t the best use of energy to charge devices while you are asleep; the device will probably hit 100% long before you are awake. On the same note, a charger plugged in but not connected to anything is using energy for no reason too. Anything that has a standby mode, such as a cable box or an internet modem, is continually using energy when not in full activation too. Sometimes it might be prudent to unplug such devices, especially when they won’t be used for a few hours as when you’re going to bed or heading to work.
On a larger scale, heating and cooling our homes drains lots of energy and is an aspect to consider when lowering energy use. When would it be possible to turn off the heating/cooling system entirely? Use those perfect spring and fall days to your benefit. Open the windows and enjoy the cool breeze to avoid turning on the air conditioner, or leave the windows closed but turn the heat off once it has knocked off the morning chill. Even when the air conditioner or heating system is necessary, turning it down or up a few degrees can make a difference too. If it’s sweltering outside, dress lightly inside and turn the air conditioner to a lower setting. Set it to come on when it reaches 74 degrees inside rather than 70 degrees, for example. Cold outside? While you don’t need to don a parka inside, put on a sweatshirt and socks so that you can keep it a bit cooler inside, perhaps 67 degrees instead of 70. Whether you are heating or cooling your house, it’s not doing you any good when you’re not there. So, turn it down or up as appropriate when you are leaving for more than a few hours.
Finally, conserve the heat or cool in your house. When you open the door, heat or cool will billow out and make your system work harder. So, avoid propping the door open. Also, try to minimize how many times the door will open. Think of ways you can make your trips outside double duty. Walking the dog? Pick up the mail while you’re at it. Bringing in groceries? Carry four bags rather than two. Better yet, invest in a rolling carrier to bring in everything at once. Kids keep going in and out? Have them plan what they want to do and bring everything out at once — balls, bubbles, drinks, etc. Sometimes energy is wasted even when the door is closed, escaping through cracks. Check around doors and windows to make sure this isn’t happening in your home. These are just a few ways you can decrease your energy use. Enjoy your lower energy bills and the peace of mind that you’re doing your part for the environment!