Whether you’re interested in lowering your energy bill or shrinking your carbon footprint, reducing the amount of energy you use just makes sense. Earth Day is on April 22, and it’s a good time to review your energy usage to see where you can improve. Use these four tips to take the next step. Little adjustments can make a big difference.
Tip #1: Turn off your electronics.
Do you tend to leave your computer on all day – or even all night? That’s a waste of electricity. Turn of your computer and other electronics when not in use.
Even when electronics are off, they can still use some energy if they’re plugged in, so consider unplugging electronics, especially when you’re away for an extended period. Using a power strip is also a good way to turn off multiple electronics easily when you’re not using them. Smart power strips are even better because they can detect when an appliance is in standby mode to save electricity.
Tip #2: Be smart about light bulbs.
Turning off a light when you leave a room is one good way to save energy. Buying energy-efficient light bulbs is another way. Energy-efficient light bulbs typically use less energy and last longer. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save $75 each year by replacing the five most frequently used bulbs in your home with bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR label.
Tip #3: Get smart about staying cool.
Air conditioners can use a tremendous amount of energy, so this is an area that deserves your attention.
- Set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, as close to the outdoor temperature as possible.
- Use a fan when you’re in a room to help you feel cooler without cranking up the AC.
- Set the thermostat at a slightly higher temperature when you leave home. This saves energy and prevents you from having to crank the AC when you return.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. It will ensure that you always have the right temperature, day and night.
- When it’s very hot out, avoid using the oven or other appliances that will increase the temperature inside your home.
- If your HVAC system is old and inefficient, consider replacing it with a new, more efficient model. It will cost some money upfront, but it can also result in energy savings over time. Also be sure to properly maintain your HVAC system to maximize its efficiency.
Tip #4: Renovate your home.
If you want to get super serious about saving energy, consider some energy-efficient home renovations.
- Poor insulation can lead to high heating and cooling costs, so updating the insulation in your home can be a worthwhile project. This doesn’t have to be a huge, invasive endeavor. Even adding insulation in your crawlspace or attic can help.
- Installing new energy efficient windows is another possibility. The S. Department of Energy says that people can reduce their energy bills by an average of 12% by switching to ENERGY STAR certified windows, doors and skylights.
- Updating large appliances such as your refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer could also help you save hundreds each year, according to Consumer Reports.
Saving energy can involve big investments – like buying new appliances – or small changes – like remembering to turn off lights. Everything adds up, so do what you can to save energy.