Easy Ways to Start Reducing Energy Use Today

Today’s headlines are full of dire predictions about the health of our planet and concerns over climate change. It’s easy to forget that the situation isn’t hopeless just yet.

Countries are beginning to come together in a unified force to make changes on a global scale. But ultimately the mindset has to change among the masses. More and more people are realizing that the everyday choices we make have an impact. When we make energy efficiency at priority it has a ripple effect that positively impacts our wallets, local grid and the surrounding environment. It also encourages others to do their part as well.

Some of the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. And many improvements are one-time changes that make a difference again and again. It’s time to acknowledge our role and start making improvements to reduce energy consumption at home.

Compare Electric Plans

Being more energy efficient at home begins with your electric plan. In deregulated energy areas like Texas and Illinois, consumers can choose which provider gets their business. Who supplies your energy and the resources used to generate electricity can affect the rate and your eco footprint.

Ask each provider if they offer a green energy plan. These are electric plans that are partially or completely powered by renewable energy sources. In Texas, where wind energy is abundant, green energy plans are becoming more commonplace. People living in deregulated energy areas can find out more here.

Going Solar . . . on Everything

Out of all the ways to improve energy efficiency at home, none can make a more noticeable impact than solar technology. Investing in a solar panel system is just the start. If you want to generate even more solar electricity, use additional products like:

  • Solar chargers for devices
  • Solar oven
  • Solar water heater
  • Solar powered outdoor lights
  • Solar powered Bluetooth speakers

There’s renewed interest in solar so keep an eye out for new ways to power your home through the sun.

Being a Minimalist

We’re moving away from being a culture of more and realizing that less stuff is better.

The less you buy the lower your eco-footprint is all around less is produced which lowers energy consumption, less is shipped and less is thrown out into growing landfills.

Being a minimalist really counts in the food department. The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is partly due to overeating. However, food waste is also a major landfill contributor. Eating smaller, healthier portions will lower the cost of purchasing food, storing groceries, cooking food and washing dishes.

Composting

Instead of throwing food scraps, peelings, shells and paper products in the trashcan, put it in a composter. There is an assortment of at-home composters that can be used in place of the garbage can so less ends up in the local landfill. They really are as simple as using a regular trashcan and you won’t have to worry about odors.

Even if you have no way of using the compost, it can still be donated. Check with your city waste department to find out if they manage a compost donation program. Community gardens are another place where compost donations are welcome.

Smarter Lighting

One of the top electrical needs of any residence is lighting. The best option is to use natural lighting whenever possible. When the sun isn’t around to provide illumination the next best thing is an energy efficient bulb.

Both compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LEDs offer ample light using fewer kilowatt-hours. The other major benefit is that CFLs and LEDs last years longer than standard halogen bulbs.

Lighting innovators haven’t stopped with the bulb. Companies like General Electric now offer “smart” CFLs and LEDs that can be synced with a Wi-Fi hub and connected to an app. The lights can be controlled remotely from anywhere or set on a timer.

Plug Up the Vampire Energy Drain

On average, vampire energy accounts for XX% of electricity use. That’s energy devices and appliances are drawing in even when they’re turned off. The fix is quite simple – unplug them.

Of course, no one wants to go around unplugging and re-plugging dozens of electronics each day. The easy solution is advanced power strips. They are similar to regular power strips, but they have built-in features to improve energy efficiency and will cut off the power supply when electronics aren’t in use. Some also have timers that can automatically power the strip up or down.

Setting Up Your Home for Maximum Efficiency

The interior décor and how a home is maintained can also influence a home’s energy efficiency. These are often easy fixes that cost little to no money. Some things to consider include:

  • Installing heavy blinds or drapes on all of the windows and adjust them to make the best use of the natural light.
  • Keeping vents cleaned and clear of clutter.
  • Replacing or cleaning air filters at least once every two months.
  • Moving the refrigerator so it’s isn’t right next to a window or door (outside temperatures could affect performance).
  • Placing houseplants throughout the home to help regulate humidity and purify the air.

At the end of the day, it comes down to making conscious choices. Each time you redecorate or renovate ask how you can make improvements to increase energy efficiency now and in the years to come.

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