Tips to Stay Energy Efficient
Humans suck up energy at an alarming rate. Every time you turn on the coffee maker; every time you switch on a bathroom light; every time you hop in the shower—you’re claiming some of the world’s finite energy for yourself. But you don’t have to be a big drain on the supply. There would be plenty of energy to go around if everyone made just a few simple tweaks to their homes and daily routines. What’s more, these tweaks would also save them money on utility builds. Lead the charge by following a few of these tips:
- Switch to CFL bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (better know as CFL bulbs) use about 75% less energy than your typical light bulb. They also don’t get as hot as some other types of light bulbs, making them safer to have in your home. And yet they emanate the same amount of light as any other light bulb. Start by replacing the bulbs in five of your heaviest used light fixtures with CFLs. If that swap works well for you and your family or roommates, switch them all.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to be more particular about the temperature of your home. They also give you the flexibility to turn down the heat when you’re not home. Program your thermostat to a comfortable 68 or 70 degrees when you’ll be home in the evening, and a slightly cooler 65 to 68 when you sleep or are away at work. If you go on vacation, you can turn down the heat even further. You can easily install a programmable thermostat in your apartment yourself, but make sure to clear it with your landlord first.
- Wash and dry in a small window. Try to time your loads of wash so that as soon as you pull one load from the dryer, you have another one ready to pop right in. This will keep the drying machine warm between loads, meaning it won’t need to use as much energy to heat back up.
- Or even better—air dry. If you’re really committed, you can air dry your clothing instead of putting it in the dryer. Set up a clothesline in your basement or invest in a simple drying rack. The latter is small enough to fit in even a small room, and it’ll come in handy when you buy a piece too delicate to run through the dryer even if you wanted to. You can also air dry dishes. Simply run them through the most energy-efficient cycle, then shut off your dishwasher and open the door so that dishes can begin to dry.
- Unplug power cords. Most people leave power cords for their laptops, cellphones, and other electronics plugged in all the time. Though they aren’t huge energy sucks, they do drain power bit by bit—and it adds up. If you’re not using a battery charger, unplug it.
- Use power strips. An easier way to unplug is to put everything into a single power strip and turn it off when you’re not using the affixed appliances. Pick an energy-efficient power strip and plug your TV, laptop, and smartphone charger into it. When you’re ready to go to bed, just flip it off and you won’t have to worry about those items sucking up power overnight.
Top 10 Tips for Renters! [Energy Star]
Energy Saver Guide: Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home [Energy.gov]
100 Ways to Save Energy at Home [Duke Energy]
Attribution: CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/Paul Keller