We all know that conserving electricity makes for a healthier planet, but did you know that it also does quite a bit of good for your wallet as well? It’s easy to take electricity for granted, and in one way or another, we all manage to waste some on a daily basis. Making just a few tweaks to your daily routine can make a big difference for both the environment and your monthly utility bill, so what are you waiting for? One of the best places to put energy conservation into action is right at home – and here are a few of our favorite around-the-house energy saving tips to get you started.
Remember when Mom and Dad always used to tell you to turn out the lights when you leave the room? It turns out that they were on to something. Some serious wattage can be saved by not leaving lamps blazing when you’re not even around to use the light. But if it’s tough to remember to hit the switch on your way out the door, try installing motion-detecting light switches around your home – you’ll still be able to turn lights on and off manually, but since the switches automatically shuts the lights off when no motion is detected in a room, there’s no need to worry about forgetting.
Cut back on electricity-hogging clothes dryer use by harnessing the power of the sun and wind instead; in other words, just hang your laundry out to dry. You’ll be helping the environment, and thanks to all that fresh air and sunshine, your clothes will smell fresher than ever. If you absolutely can’t live without a dryer, consider switching over to one that has a built-in moisture sensor. These sensors can detect exactly when a load of laundry is dry, and will automatically shut off the dryer instead of letting it run needlessly through the remainder of the cycle, saving you money and helping your clothes to last longer.
Instead of using traditional incandescent bulbs in household lamps and light fixtures, switch to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These spiral-shaped fluorescent bulbs are the around the same size as incandescent bulbs (they fit into most incandescent light fixtures), but their lifespan can be up to 10 times as long. CFLs also make far better use of the wattage they draw; for example, a 25-watt CFL can produce as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb!
Keep tabs on the power consumption of your household appliances with a handy little gadget called a watt meter. Wattmeters not only tell you how much electricity each device uses, they can also help you calculate what it actually costs to operate each one for a given amount of time. Knowing how your utility bill breaks down by appliance – and learning which ones are the real power guzzlers – can help you make smart decisions on when, and how long, to run home electronics.
Whether you have a spotlight-worthy garden or a front path in need of illumination, be sure to opt for solar-powered landscape lights instead of the hard-wired type. Beyond purchasing them, solar landscape lights cost nothing to operate – during daylight hours, the Sun’s rays charge their batteries, and by night, they cast a beautiful glow in your yard.
If you live in a hot and sunny climate, consider having heat-rejecting tinted films installed on your home’s windows. These tinted laminates, which are applied to the interior surfaces of windows, contain either dyes or traces of metal that convert solar rays into infrared radiation and reject that radiation back through the glass, so that it doesn’t enter and raise the temperature of the house. While windows equipped with heat rejecting films can initially cost 10-15% more than standard windows, they ultimately pay for themselves many times over by significantly reducing long-term cooling-related energy costs.
Still using standard power strips and surge protectors? Take control of electricity-sucking vampire electronics (devices that draw power even when they’re not in use) by plugging into intelligent surge protectors instead. Perfect for use with computers and home theater systems, smart power strips save you money by automatically cutting power to peripheral devices when they sense that the main electronic device has been turned off. If you don’t want all of your electrical appliances intuitively shut down, no problem… each Smart Strip is also equipped with several “constant hot” outlets that keep the current flowing without interruption.
When the weather starts cooling down, save on heating energy by installing storm windows to insulate your home against the coming cold. Another great way to conserve energy and save money during the colder months of the year is to inspect the caulking and weather stripping on windows and doors every autumn. It may not seem like a big deal, but maintaining these barriers goes a long way toward keeping the warm air in and the cold air out.
Love decorating for the holidays but hate the exorbitant utility bills that come from decking the halls with strand upon strand of twinkle lights? Sounds like you haven’t discovered holiday LEDS yet. Switch from incandescent to LED strand lights, and you’ll not only use 90% less energy, you’ll practically never have to worry about finding and changing burnt-out bulbs again: the average LED Christmas bulb has a lifespan of 50,000 hours.