Happy Earth Day!
Have you thought at all about different ways to conserve energy? Your family can do super simple things to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home a little bit greener and more earth-friendly. If you think about it, there are many small changes that you could make that would make a LARGE impact on your utility bills. I am sure that you remember your dad yelling something when you were growing up about not needed single-handedly support the electric company!
15 Super Simple Ways to Conserve Energy
Of course we all know about turning off the lights and water when we leave a room, but did you know these easy ways that your family can conserve energy (and lower your electric bills too)?
* Turn off the water when you aren’t actively using it. When you are ready to brush your teeth, turn the water on, fill a cup to rinse with, wet your toothbrush and turn the water off. There’s no reason for it to run while you are brushing.
* Use a programmable thermostat and set a 7 day schedule. Program the exact times your heat or air conditioning goes on and off and easily maintain specific temperatures throughout the day. Many will also remind you when to change your air filters and batteries. You should have one of these for each zone within your home – like Ron Popeil has said, you can set it and forget it!
* Setting the thermostat to the highest setting will not make the house warm up faster; rather, it will just keep the furnace running longer. So don’t have the thermostat fluctuate too much during the day or be too warm. If everyone is out of the house all day at work and school, set it for a little bit lower. You can also lower it a little bit during the night when everyone is sleeping.
* During the summer, a 5°F higher setting on the air conditioning thermostat will save about 10% on cooling costs; in the winter, lowering the temperature 3 to 5°F can save up to 20% on heating costs (about $180/year!)
* Kitchen appliances account for about 20% of household energy consumption (taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator). Try to limit the use.
* Install high efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs – not only will they use less electricity, but they’ll last longer. In the mornings, open the window shades and get some light in the house instead of turning on any electricity. Natural light will make you feel happier as well.
* Use power strips and turn them off when you aren’t using them. You can plug multiple items into one power strip and easily just turn them off with the push of one button.
* Only have one refrigerator/freezer – in your kitchen. If you buy a new one, don’t put the old one in the garage or on the porch and to use it as a second. You only think you’re saving money.
* A 10° increase in temperature around your fridge can trigger 20% higher energy consumption; the refrigerator should be kept at 37 and 40° and the freezer between 0 and 5° degrees.
* When my kids were little, one of their favorite songs was “Under a Shady Tree” by the Laurie Berkner Band. Shady trees are a great way to conserve energy. Plant trees that lose their leaves during the fall because they will spend the summer protecting your home from the sun, and they will spend the winter letting sunlight and warmth inside.
* For shade from the hot summer sun, plant trees on the south, east and west sides of the home and to stop cold winter winds, create a windbreak with evergreen trees and shrubs.
* If your food needs to cook for more than an hour, don’t worry about preheating your oven. Just put the food in and turn the oven on at the same time.
* Use an electric burner that is the right size – if you’re putting a 6” pot on an 8” burner, you’re wasting 40% of the energy!
* Run your dishwasher only when it is full. I will admit, I am totally guilty of running my dishwasher because I can’t fit anything else on the top rack, but only have a plate or two on the bottom rack. If you wait until the dishwasher is totally full and leave it open to let the dishes air dry (instead of using the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher), you’ll save some energy.
* In the same vein as the dishwasher, only run full loads through the washing machine and dryer. Wash the clothes in cold water for both wash and rinse cycles and don’t run the dryer on the highest heat setting. In the dryer, make sure you are cleaning out the lint trap after every single load. You’ll see a difference in your bills for sure.
What is your family doing for Earth Day? Tell us about any changes you’ve made to conserve energy in our comments below!
For more Earth Day activities, fun & ideas, visit these posts