Whenever it comes to combating air pollution and global warming, action at the state and federal levels is unquestionably critical for achieving real change. Smaller actions that you can take every day in your own home are also important. Those certain simple habits, simple home improvements, and wise purchasing decisions can add up to significant energy reductions over time. Skeptical? Give them a shot. Allow your utility bill to speak for itself.
1. Shop more wisely
Numerous stainless appliances today use a fraction of those from 20 years ago. When shopping, look for items that have the Energy Star label. They typically consume 10 to 50% less electricity than some other new models. Purchaser rebates on Energy Star-rated models are offered by certain electricity companies and even state governments.
2. Use no more energy than necessary
Run the dishwasher only when it is full, set your machine to the suitable water level, and wash clothes in cold water. Set your refrigerator to 28 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer to 0 to 5, and make sure both are tightly sealed. The clothes dryer is one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the home, frequently using as much as a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. When possible, air-dry your clothes, and if you must use a washing machine, make sure to clean the lint filter after each use.
3. Turn everything off
This does not just mean turning off the lights once you leave a room. You must also turn off your computer, video game consoles, television, cable boxes, and digital video recorders when not in use—or disconnect them totally and utterly if they brighten up or use energy even when turned off. Tablets, Cell phones, and other battery-powered device chargers use small amounts of energy even when not charging. Connect objects you use frequently to a power cord so you can easily turn them all off at once.
4. Set the thermostat
Your ability to save energy is largely contingent on the settings you choose, even if you purchase the most energy-efficient air conditioner, heater, or water heater available. If you own your house, consider installing a programmable thermostat. They cost $100 or less and can reduce energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent — saving $180 a year—by regulating the temperature throughout the day.
Additionally, check the temperature settings on your electric or gas water heater. It works harder than necessary—and costs you more money—to ensure that hot water is constantly available for you if it is set higher than you actually need. Your setting is too high if the hot water from your tap almost burns your hand.
5. Take an electric reading
An energy monitor meter, such as a Kill A Watt Meter, attempts to measure how much energy each device in your home consumes when turned on and off. These are typically less than $30 at home improvement retailers and can provide numerous aha moments. For instance, you could demonstrate that your “turned off” DVR set-top box from your cable or satellite provider is drawing approximately 20 watts even when you are not watching or capturing a show.
6. Recycling outdated electronics
When you purchase new, energy-efficient electronics and appliances, it’s crucial to properly dispose of the old ones. Give older family members working electronics like phones, computers, and tablets, or go online for buy-back schemes. Retailers like Best Buy and Staples have comprehensive in-store recycling programs for functional and nonworking gadgets; regardless of where you purchased them, they will accept most electronics and dispose of them correctly for free.
7. Fill in the gaps
When all the gaps around windows and doors in an average American house are added together, you get an equal amount of a 3-foot by 3-foot hole in the wall. Seal air leaks with caulk and weatherstrip, and use window putty to fill gaps around loose window panes. And also, attach “sweeps” or “shoes” to the bottoms of doors to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping. Caulking may be an effective way to stop drafts but it is also advisable to replace old windows with energy-efficient windows.
8. Purchase smarter bulbs
At home improvement stores, an LED light bulb can cost as little as $5 and save more than $100 over its lifetime. LEDs use up to 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light, and those come in a variety of colors, shapes, and intensities. They can also work with dimmers and reach full light output instantly. Check to see if your utility offers a reimbursement for energy-efficient bulbs, which would reduce their cost even more.)
9. Pick renewable energy sources
Choose a sustainable energy source, such as solar, wind, low-impact hydroelectric, or geothermal, if you are able to select your own energy provider. In some states, you can support renewable energy by adding a small surcharge to your electric account rather than selecting a particular electricity provider. Find out your possibilities by asking your electrical provider.