1. Buy Only What You Need
Plain and simple-don’t over purchase. However, when buying items that you use daily or in large quantities, consider buying in bulk. You will save money and packaging. Consider splitting bulk purchases with friends to get that savings but not the full quantity of the purchase. Sometimes we can’t always use 50 rolls of paper towels.
2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
Recycle, reuse, and properly dispose of all materials. Everything from plastic bags to construction materials. But, recycling is not just limited to the cans, glass, and paper we go though everyday. If you’re upgrading your house, don’t forget to look for recycling and reuse programs for your household items, such as windows, doors, tile, etc. Don’t forget the last step in the recycling loop: buy recycled! In order for recycling to be sustainable, we need to purchase and use recycled-content materials. Look for and purchase post-consumer recycled content packaging and products whenever possible.
3. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
When your incandescent light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) CFLs use 2/3 less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times longer. Making this upgrade saves you money and saves energy.
4. Use Your Own Bags
Plastic bags are doing serious damage to our oceans and wildlife, as well as just making an eyesore on our streets. Many communities around the country are actually banning the use of plastic bags because of litter problems. When going to the store, consider bagging your own groceries in cloth, reusable bags. Many stores sell reusable bags and charge to provide plastic grocery bags.
5. Keep Your Gadgets Green
Electronics become outdated very quickly. To insure you are responsible with your gadgets, practice the following:
- Resist the urge to upgrade every time a “newer” or “cooler” gadget comes out. Reduce at the source-you save money and the time (and frustration) to learn how to operate and program the new gadget!
- Donate working electronics to charities or school programs that resell or refurbish them.
- Refill or recycle your inkjet or toner cartridges
- Close the recycling loop and buy recycled, post-consumer content paper for your printer. Most local office supply stores, such as Staples, offer a growing selection of environmentally friendly papers.
6. Conserve Every Drop
Despite the fact that 70% of the world is covered by water, you should conserve all that you can. Turn off the water faucet when brushing your teeth and shaving. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full; avoid small, partial loads. Cleaning your driveway or sidewalk by hosing it down with water wastes at least 80 gallons of water every time; Use a broom instead.
7. Adjust Your Thermostat
A few degrees difference in temperature can make all the difference in both your energy savings and your financial savings. In the summer, raise your thermostat two degrees. In the winter, lower your thermostat two degrees. You’ll not likely notice the difference in temperature, but you’ll sure notice the benefit when your utility bill arrives! Use a ceiling fan to cool off a room or house. It consumes about the same amount of energy as a 60-watt bulb (about 98% less energy than most air conditioners).
8. Keep the Air Clean
Carpool, ride the bus, use public transportation, or bike to work. Better yet, see if your company can institute a telecommuting program (if it does not already have one). Save fuel and time by planning ahead and consolidating errands into one trip. Also, go to certain, far away stores less frequently.
Keep your tires inflated to the appropriate air pressure level to extend the life of your tires and give you better gas mileage. Drive the speed limit.
9. Save the Trees
Pay your bills online, saving paper, time, and postage. As the price of paper cards and postage increases, consider emailing e-cards instead of mailing them out. Email documents and information instead of printing and mailing them. Whenever possible, save documents on your computer or on a disk instead of as a print copy in your filing cabinet.
10. Overall Around the Home
Clotheslines are making a comeback. Dry your clothes on the line instead of in the dryer; they’ll smell better and you’ll save money. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins; they can be used repeatedly and thrown in with your weekly load of towels. Make your own less-toxic cleaning alternatives using baking soda, soap, and vinegar. Open the doors and windows to let the fresh air in and germs and smells out. Indoor air quality is often times worse than the air outside.
11. Green, Green, Green
Think green all the time, whether it is driving your car, turning on the air conditioner, the heater, taking a shower, cleaning the dishes, or even eating. We can all reduce our waste in more than just energy. Water is becoming an issue for many areas, and it’s conservation goes hand in hand with green living. Food is also becoming a problem for more and more regions, so think before you cook. We can cut down on food production costs by consuming and wasting less, and we will be healthier for it as well. We can also feed more starving people by wasting less. By thinking green throughout the day, it will become habit, and an everyday way of life instead of an afterthought.
More tips for reducing home energy use and increasing home energy efficiency
1. Plant some trees! Leafy trees on the sunny side of your house serve two purposes: a) they look good; and b) their leaves can create shade in the summer that keeps your house cool, and they drop leaves in the winter which allows sunshine to give your house a little extra heat.
2. Turn off those lights! If you’re leaving the room, turn the lights off, especially if you won’t be back for a while. If you’re getting enough sunshine to see well, you can just keep the lights off.
3. Dress the part. We never want to be too cold, but if the house is only a little cool, try wearing a sweater before you turn on the heater.
4. No need to overheat the food. Ovens stay hot for a while after they’re turned off, so if you turn them off a short time before the food is done, the cooking will still finish without keeping the oven on.
5. Knowing your appliances. A fridge that’s too full won’t work as well, using more energy, while a freezer that’s not full enough will do the same.
5. A few degrees here and there… Turning your thermostat up a few degrees in the summer and down in the winter will save energy. Don’t freeze yourself, we’re talking a few degrees. You’ll save energy even if you only do this at night or when you’re out of the house.
6. The water heater. Turn it off when you’re on vacation. There’s no need to heat water for Bob the Invisible Ghost. Tankless water heaters can also reduce your energy use.
7. Avoid too many extras. An extra refrigerator when there is plenty of room in one wastes energy. Unless you’re disabled and a bedroom fridge is a great help to you, you most likely don’t need a second fridge.
8. Cool it down first. When you’ve got hot food, let it cool before you put it in the fridge. That way it won’t heat up the fridge and require extra energy.
9. Don’t overdo it. Only use the temperature settings you need on your fridge and freezer. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations.
10. Keep your feet warm in the winter. If your feet are cold, so are you. If you keep your feet warm you may not be tempted to run for the heater as often.
11. Maintenance. Keep up on any maintenance for your appliances, particularly your heating and air. Keeping clean filters and smooth running appliances will keep them as energy efficient as possible.
12. The dishwasher. If you feel you need to use a dishwasher, only run it when you have a full load. Use energy saving features if your washer has them.
13. A little over a lot. Directing light to the area where it is needed instead of lighting a large space will save energy.
14. Air dry. Letting your dishes air dry instead of using the dishwasher’s drying system saves energy.
15. Rarely used lights. If you need a light on at night, use a low watt bulb or use a smaller nightlight.
16. Washing clothes. If you can, wash your clothes in cold water. Most of a washing machine’s energy goes into heating water.
17. Outside lighting. If you have lights outside, motion sensors can keep them off until they’re needed, saving a lot of energy.
18. Compact florescents. Using compact fluorescent bulbs will use less energy than regular light bulbs. Well made ones also last a lot longer.
19. Ceiling fans. Using ceiling fans when you can keeps you from using the air conditioner so much.
20. Unplug it. If you’re not using an appliance, unplug it. They are always draining some amount of energy, so unplugging them negates that drain.
21. Monitors and TV screens. LCD screens tend to use a lot less energy than plasma or CRT screens.
22. Screen brightness. Lowering the brightness level on monitors and televisions can save energy.
23. Power strips. Using a power strip can help you save energy. Just plug your entertainment center or computer components in and switch off the power strip when you’re not using those components. One switch is a lot easier than unplugging 20 devices.
24. Check seals. If your doors (including refrigerator doors) are not properly sealed, energy could be literally leaking right out of your house. You may only need some cheap weather stripping in many cases.
25. The drier. If you can, using a clothesline is the best way to avoid over using the drier. If that’s not practical, try and dry loads one after the other. This lets you use the heat that is already built up in the drier.
We hope these reducing home energy use tips helps you!