Much of the energy consumed in the U.S. each year is wasted through inefficient technology and transmission. This causes families and businesses to pay higher energy bills and results in increased carbon pollution. Energy efficiency is a simple and cost effective solution to combat climate change, prevent further air pollution and reduce the cost of energy for consumers.
Sometimes there is great need to consider your impact on the planet. Sometimes you can change the way you are living in order to promote cleaner air. Sometimes you set out to write a great blog post describing all the wonderful things you can do to create a better world. Sometimes your blog post is just a list. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
- Consider powering your home with renewable energy. Many companies offer partial or full renewable energy plans.
- Get off the grid by adding solar panels to your home. You may actually make money by selling energy you don’t use to the power company.
- Be sure your windows seal properly and are energy efficient.
- Check for air leaks, fix the ones you find.
- Make sure your home is completely insulated.
- Switch to low-energy fluorescent lightbulbs. They last up to 10 times as long as regular lightbulbs.
- Use motion sensing bulbs for your outdoor lights. They are both efficient and convenient.
- Save energy (and lower your electric bill) by turning off the lights when you leave a room.
- If you’re in the market for new appliances, opt for energy efficient ones to save energy and money on your bill.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer regularly. A dirty filter uses up to 30% more energy to dry clothes.
- Better yet, instead of using the dryer, try a drying rack, especially on sunny days. You will save energy AND your clothes won’t shrink.
- Do all your laundry in one day so the dryer doesn’t have to heat up again for each load.
- Set the temperature of your refrigerator to between 30 and 42°F, or use the energy save function if available.
- Check the coils behind your refrigerator for dust. The refrigerator doesn’t have to work as hard when these are clean.
- A full freezer full uses less energy than one that is empty.
- After the rinse cycle, turn off your dishwasher and open the door a crack to let your dishes air dry.
- Only run your dishwasher when full.
- Use less energy by heating up leftovers in a microwave or toaster oven instead of the oven.
- While in use keep your oven closed – every time you open the door the oven loses 25°F of heat.
- Turn your oven and burners off toward the end of baking and cooking. It will continue cooking using existing heat without using additional energy.
- Use copper-bottomed pots and pans, which use energy more efficiently.
- Conserve energy by keeping your pots and pans covered while cooking.
- Match pots and pans to similar sized burners to prevent energy loss around edges.
- Unplug your chargers and kitchen appliances when not in use – they draw energy just by being plugged into the power outlet.
- Better yet, plug your electronics into a power strip and turn it off when not in use.
- Instead of a desktop, purchase a laptop if you are looking to buy a new computer – it will require less electricity to run.
- Come to that, don’t forget to turn off your computer when you aren’t using it to save power. Or if you prefer to leave it on use the hibernation option instead of a screensaver.
- Look for energy efficient televisions, if you are looking to buy a new one.
- Cover bare floor with area rugs for insulation and comfort.
- Raise heat gradually by a couple of degrees each time instead of jumping the heat up.
- In winter, set your heater between 68 and 70°F during the day and 65 to 68°F at night.
- When not in use close the flue to your fireplace and install glass doors to keep heat in and cold out.
- Change the filters in your heating system every month.
- Let the sun help you heat your home by leaving blinds and curtains open during the day and closed at night.
- Lower your thermostat when you are out. If you go on vacation don’t turn it below 55°F to save energy and to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Consider installing an evaporative cooler instead of air conditioning. How Stuff Works has written an article outlining the pros and cons of each.
- Keep your exterior doors and windows closed when AC is on. Keep them slightly open if you have a swamp cooler to promote air flow.
- Keep interior doors open so air flows freely throughout your home.
- Change your AC filters once a month.
- Turn your thermostat to the highest possible comfortable temperature and set it to “auto.”
- Close air vents and doors to rooms you aren’t using.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate air more efficiently. Additionally, the breeze from ceiling fans can make you feel 3-4° cooler so you can set your thermostat a little higher and still feel cool.
- Provide shade over your home with trees. Plant a new one every Arbor Day.
- Always launder with cold water or make sure you only wash a full load if you use hot water.
- Install low-flow shower head and faucets.
- Turn off your water heater if you are leaving town. Most heaters can reheat water in a few hours after you return.
- Set the temperature of your water heater to 120°F.
- When buying a new water heater, look for one that is energy efficient.
- Take shorter showers and only allow the water to run while you are wetting your hair and rinsing off.