A glance at your monthly energy bill can be a disturbing and frustrating experience. You may reasonably lament how much of your hard-earned and precious income is going into the basic function of your home. You may also feel some twinges of guilt (along with a bit of humbling shock) about how much energy you’re using. We’re reminded more and more starkly how unsustainable our collective lifestyles have become, given the real challenges we’re facing in terms of climate change.
Investing some time and effort—and, yes, a little money—into energy-saving practices and technology in your household is a doubly rewarding venture: You’re not only on the road to saving significant money, but you’re also doing your part—a small but vital role—in reducing consumption and promoting a smaller ecological footprint.
There are many inexpensive methods of saving energy in your house; when you add up all the little adjustments you’re making, you’ll be amazed at the degree of impact (one you’ll surely be able to quantify after a couple of utility bills). Turn off appliances when you’re not using them—about as simple a practice as you could ask for, yet one a staggering number of people neglect. Do you really need all the lights on in every room, for example?
Remember that certain appliances continue to drain energy when they’re in the standby mode, so consider unplugging these or connecting them to power strips you can easily turn off.
Check your home’s insulation. Much heat is lost by poorly insulated buildings; more robustly sealing windows and doors is one way to combat this leakage. Don’t sabotage your own efforts: Make sure you close windows when you’re heating up or cooling down the house. Instead of relentlessly turning to the air conditioner, consider electricity-free means of staying cool: Shut the windows and pull the shades at midday to preserve the morning cool through the heat of the afternoon.
Keep your showers short and sweet and make laundry day more efficient by only washing full loads of clothes; the same goes for the dishwasher. Speaking of dishwashers, forgo them for the drying process and indulge in a little old-fashioned air-drying.
Take advantage of green technology, too. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have partnered in the ENERGY STAR program to identify and promote energy-efficient devices; a special ENERGY STAR label helps you select the most efficient. Using energy-efficient light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and the like can transform your ecological footprint and your monthly costs.
Saving Energy and Money
Remember, too, that you can enhance your money-saving energy practices by diligently searching for the cheapest, most reliable gas and electricity suppliers.
It can be remarkably easy to give your home an energy makeover—and it needn’t involve a lot of expense. Some of the effort will be infrastructural, but a lot of it will be behavioral: Adjusting your lifestyle in small but meaningful ways. The planet will be as thankful as your pocketbook!