When you’re responsible for paying the energy bills, it becomes important to monitor your energy usage. But in addition to conserving energy as a way to save money on your electricity bill, you might be concerned about conserving energy as a way to help the planet. Every time you make an effort to avoid wasting excess energy, you’re helping conserve natural resources. Whatever your motivation may be, here are 5 great ways to reduce your overall energy usage and give your wallet and the planet a break.
Energy Saving Tip #1:
Use Alternative Forms of Energy
Fossil fuels — such as oil and petroleum — are available in limited quantities, which means those resources will eventually become more and more costly as they are depleted. Moreover, their use impacts the environment in negative ways, largely because of the emissions they create. Take the time to research the alternative energy options that would work best for your home or situation. For example, most of us think of solar panels as a great alternative energy solution, and they absolutely can be. But not every roof is facing the right direction for solar panels, nor does every location get enough sunlight to make them viable.
However, there are other ways to take advantage of alternative energy. You could choose a fireplace that burns cleaner ethanol instead of a wood-burning fireplace. Consider natural gas-powered heat and appliances, which often cost much less to operate than their electric counterparts. Finally, many electric companies offer customers the option to choose clean energy for a portion of your energy usage, often from windmills or hydroelectric sources. You can check out these Alberta regulated power companies to see if there are any alternative energy options.
Energy Saving Tip #2:
Make a Habit of Turning Off Lights & Appliances
This is a common-sense tip, but it really does have an impact on your electricity usage. Leaving lights and appliances on when they are not being used is a quick way to waste energy. This is especially important to consider if you have small children in your home because — let’s be honest — kids often forget to turn the lights off when they leave a room.
But this can also be true for appliances or devices that are not in use, but are still plugged in. For example, that red light that always shows on your cable box means it is using energy. Leaving your computer on overnight, even if you’re not using it, means wasting energy. To eliminate the constant draw from these energy vampires, use surge protectors that can be switched off at the end of the day to cut power to all devices at once, or invest in smart devices that can be turned off via timers or remotely via your smartphone or mobile device.
Energy Saving Tip #3:
Upgrade Old Appliances
Large appliances are energy hogs, and small appliances also use more energy than you might think. You can invest in a device that will help you identify which appliances use the most energy. Older appliances tend to be the worst culprits, so you should consider them to newer, more energy-efficient models. Even if your appliance is running smoothly, an older refrigerator likely is sucking up more energy than a comparable newer model. Look for options that are Energy Star certified for efficiency.
Although upgrading old appliances requires an initial investment, if you make conscious, careful choices, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your energy bills. The main appliances that are worth upgrading are refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, computers, and televisions. You can also consider dishwashers, dryers and washing machines. Be on the lookout for any appliances that remain in standby mode because these will add to the amount of energy you’re using.
Energy Saving Tip #4:
Check Your Insulation
Depending on where you live, winter likely means homeowners and business owners are keeping their furnaces or central heat running constantly. That cost can add up quickly. If you’re looking for a way to keep your space warm without using an excessive amount of energy, you’ll want to check your insulation. Keeping your home properly insulated might involve checking your attic or basement to make sure your insulation is still in good condition and doing its job well, repairing damage to walls and siding, or you even installing new windows. Doors and windows are responsible for a bulk of the heat loss in many buildings, so having energy efficient, double- or triple-pane windows and heavier doors will help minimize that loss. But short of replacing them completely, you could add a layer of plastic to your windows to help keep drafts away.
Energy Saving Tip #5:
Keeping Cool During the Summer
In addition to conserving energy during the winter months, you need to search for ways to lower your energy usage during the summer months. Having the air conditioner running nonstop will contribute to far greater energy use during the summer months. For this reason, it’s a good idea to find other ways to keep cool, such as opening windows on the shaded side of your home, and investing in energy saving window treatments that will help keep the heat out in rooms that get full sun for a part of the day. These tips will allow the breeze to flow and keep the sun from heating up your living space.
Energy usage is something we all have to think about as our increasing demands require more and more of it, but choosing to be conscious about how much power you are using will help your bottom line, and Mother Nature will thank you for it.