How to Save on Your Energy Bill Without Impacting Comfort
Going green doesn’t just mean committing to recycling and composting. It also involves taking steps to decrease your energy consumption and, as a result, the carbon footprint you leave on the earth. Many people associate less energy with a chilly apartment in the winter or a muggy home in the summer, but you can remain comfortable while saving energy—and also shedding dollars from your energy bill. We’ve compiled a list of ways to save money and energy without affecting creature comforts, so pick one or two and start going green one step at a time.
If you’ve never heard of “energy vampires,” the concept is pretty simple: they’re electronics that suck up electricity even when you’re not using them. From alarm clocks to cell phone chargers, many of the peripheral electronics in your home may be slowly draining energy from the outlets while you sleep, work, and play. To rectify this problem, unplug and turn off any electronics whenever you’re not using them, especially when you go away for a few days. You can also plug them into power strips and then simply turn off the entire strip when you leave the house.
Try CFLs in your lamps and overhead lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use way less energy than typical light bulbs, and they’re easy to install. They shine just as bright as normal bulbs, too, so you won’t have to sacrifice light in order to make the switch. You can pick them up at any hardware store, Target or Walmart, or home goods store.
Leaving the air conditioner or heat cranked up while you’re at work is one of the fastest ways to inflate your energy bill. It’s even worse if you leave the heat or AC up while you’re away on vacation–but you can’t completely shut it off, either, or you risk coming home to a frigid or hot apartment. Use your thermostat to control the heat in your home and keep it at about 68 to 70 degrees during the chilly months and 76 to 78 in the summer when you’re not at home. If you’re going away for a few days, adjust the temperature by eight degrees up or down depending on the season.
There are many simple ways to conserve water, and each of them can result in a smaller water bill next month. It’s easy to install low-flow showerheads, and you won’t have to give up water pressure in order to do so. You can also install low-flow fixtures in your toilets and faucets. Or skip all the hardware and just commit to air-drying your clothing after washing them instead of enlisting the dryer (you can air-dry dishes, too).
When you leave for the day, close the blinds.
This simple change can be surprisingly effective. Most of the heat coming into your apartment during the day comes from sunlight streaming in through the windows, which is great when you’re home to enjoy it. But when you’re not home, closing the blinds reflects the light (and some of the heat) back out into the world.