How many times do parents remind their kids to turn off the light or close the refrigerator door? If you’re the adult in the house, you probably have to remind yourself of these energy saving habits one time too many.
So why is it important to cut back on your household’s energy consumption in the first place? And what are the specific things that you can do to achieve this feat? Read on to find out.
Why Is It a Must to Cut Back on Energy Consumption?
Why is there a need to cut back on energy consumption in the first place? In the United States, the average household uses up more energy than they did the previous year. On average, energy use has doubled for every 20 years. The more that people rely on electronic devices and gadgets to communicate on a daily basis, the more energy they end up using.
Although energy seems to be there whenever needed, it does not mean that it is an endless supply. Every household has to do its share of cutting back on energy consumption for the general supply not to be depleted. As far as the environment is concerned, having an energy-friendly home is better for Mother Nature.
When your house has too much carbon emission, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Conserving water and reducing air pollution are also a must to tone down the damage that’s already being done to the environment.
Aside from these, cutting back on energy consumption results to lower electricity bills – which means lesser operating budget for your household every month. What better reason is there to save on electricity?
Best Ways to Save Money on Energy Consumption
You already realize the importance of cutting back your home’s energy consumption. Currently, what are the practices of the members in your household that lead to a reduction of electricity consumption? Are your electrical appliances and electronic gadgets energy-saving? What about the heating and cooling system in your home?
During the summer and winter, cooling and heating costs make up 50% of your total utility bills. This means that if you become more conscious of the way that you are heating and cooling your home, you will save a lot on electricity bills. The more efficient your system is to regulate the temperature inside your home, the more that you can save on energy.
Here are other areas of household maintenance where you can save money by reducing your energy consumption:
The Lighting Fixtures
The number one rule in every household should be to shut off the lights once done using them. The same thing holds true for the other electronic gadgets and electrical appliances in the house. However, let’s focus our attention to how you can save your money on the consumption of electricity with the lighting fixtures.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good idea to replace all your fluorescent and incandescent bulbs with energy-saving ones. They may cost a bit more than traditional light bulbs initially – but the savings on energy that you will incur in the long run will be larger.
As compared to traditional bulbs, energy-saving bulbs help you save as much as 75% of the electricity used by regular lamps. They even emit the same level of brightness and do not burn out as fast, so they are really cost-efficient.
Other lighting tips that will help you save energy include the following:
- Replace standard bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
- Don’t use bulbs which give off too bright a light in too small a room. Look for a bulb with the right wattage so you won’t have to use up any more electricity than you have to.
- Replace halogen light bulbs with CFLs. Halogen bulbs get hot enough to be a fire hazard, CFLs do not.
- For outdoor lighting, use motion-detector or solar lights which are more convenient and energy-efficient.
- If you don’t want to replace all your lighting fixtures with energy-saving ones, at least do so for the five most-used lighting fixtures.
- If you have lamp shades, choose light-colored or opaque shades so the light can be reflected from two walls.
- Fluorescent tubes can be installed in areas where you need task lighting while working on your computer, or while the kids are in the playroom.
The House in General
There is such a thing as energy vampire devices. These are items in the house which use up electricity even when turned off. The solution would be to turn off the TV instead of place it in standby mode. The same thing holds true for other electrical appliances.
If not monitored, energy vampire appliances will use up phantom electricity which accounts for 20% of your electric bill. That’s a lot, considering the fact that to prevent it, you simply need to completely turn off your electrical devices.
What you need to do is unplug all devices which are not being used. Even if your mobile phone charger is not connected to your phone but it is attached to the wall socket, it can still consume electricity.
Other items that you need to unplug instead of merely put on standby more are cable or satellite boxes, digital TV converters, media players, video game consoles, coffee makers, devices with a standby light or clock, and devices which instantly turn on using the remote control.
Another way to lessen phantom electricity is to use smart power strips. When you leave the house, you simply need to turn off one switch so it’s less of a bother.
During winter, turn off your electric blanket when you’re not in bed. You should also eliminate all light sources before going to sleep – those blinking blue and red lights interrupt your shuteye, anyway – so it is best to leave them off.
In the bathrooms and toilets, remember that when you waste water, you are also wasting electricity. In most cities, the biggest use of electricity is the process of supplying water and cleaning it up after it’s been used. Check for leaking toilets or showers.
Install a low-flush device on the toilet – this will save you about five to seven gallons of water every flush. Taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth or soaping your body and using less hot water are the other ways for you to save on water and electricity in the bathroom.
This means that you should not feel guilty easing up on household chores by investing in a dishwasher. However, it does pay to wait until the machine is fully loaded before turning it on. This way, you can save money on both water and electricity.
When you’re simply heating up food instead of cooking from scratch, do not use the traditional oven. Heat them up on the microwave instead to use up less energy. Check if the rubber seal around the door of your refrigerator still properly closes. If not, have it replaced because the cool air that escapes trough the border will make you waste energy.
Also, if there is a big ticket appliance in your kitchen that needs replacement, do it the soonest time possible. Those old model ovens, stove top cookers and dishwashers consume more energy than their newer counterparts. Check on the Energy Star rating of the appliance – the higher it is, the more electricity you will save.
The Exterior of the House
Outside your house, use a broom instead of a pressured hose to clean the driveway, deck or patio. If you only have a small lawn or backyard, invest in a manual instead of an electric lawnmower. Instead of using a leaf blower that requires electricity or gasoline to operate, use a rake instead. Consider the workout you will get to be your dose of the week’s physical exercise.
Other Ways to Save Energy
If you love entertaining, invest in cutleries, plates and similar items in the kitchen that you can use over and over again. If you will insist on using disposable items simply because they require less washing, you are actually contributing to the waste on landfills.
When replacing any household item that requires electricity, make sure that they have high Energy Star ratings. Bring your own reusable bags in the grocery instead of having the items packed on paper bags or worse, plastic bags. Follow the golden rule in conservation of reducing, reusing and recycling household wastes.
As you can see, saving energy does not merely involve the electrical and electronic items inside the house. When you’re saving on water and household waste, you are saving on energy, too.
If everybody will do their share in cutting back the energy consumption of an entire household, the savings will add up to a lot per year – and this bodes very well for the environment while cutting back on your electrical bills at the same time.