5 Ways to Conserve Energy and Save Money at Home
Experts agree, a few simple tweaks at home could conserve energy and save you serious cash.
It doesn’t really matter if your home is run on electric, oil, or gas — there are always ways to conserve energy and improve the efficiency of your home, and that’s a positive thing because your wallet will thank you, especially at the end of a long, cold winter when energy bills for many cold-climate residents head north of $1,000 for the season (ouch). So what’s a smart consumer like you to do? Experts Ted Booth, design director, Honeywell, and Madeleine Somerville, author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity, weigh in.
Wash your clothes in cold water unless your fabric specifically calls for a heat setting.
“Always wash your clothes in cold water. Every little bit helps,” says Madeleine. Cold water requires no additional energy input, while using your washer’s warm or hot settings requires lots of additional energy to warm the water before dumping it into your machine. If you do at least one to two loads of laundry a week, this can really add up. Synthetic fabrics and synthetic blends almost never require hot water, and may even degrade faster in high temperatures, so you’ll save money on longer-lasting gym clothes, too.
READ MORE: How to Wash Gym Clothes Properly (hint: never with heat)
Switch to a “smart thermostat.”
…Or several, depending on how many heating zones your home has to conserve energy with zero effort.
“Honeywell provides an Energy Savings Calculator so Americans can see how much they will save from switching to smart thermostats annually,” explains Ted Booth. “You have the ability to drop the thermostat down when you leave home and adjust when you’re on the way home, which manages your energy levels nearly seamlessly, reducing your utility bill without sacrificing your comfort when you’re home.”
Yup, you guessed it — the new wave of smart thermostats are WiFi enabled, meaning you can control the temperature settings of your home while you’re at work to save energy for at least 1/3 of the day (which really adds up), away on vacation, or out doing just about anything but sitting home.
Madeleine agrees with this tip, too, telling us, “A programmable thermostat does the work of saving energy for you. If you program your thermostat to be 7-10 degrees cooler while you’re out of the house during the winter months it can save you up to 10% on your yearly heating bill.” Pretty impressive, right?
The Honeywell Lyric T5 WiFi Thermostat is our pick for an affordable and reliable smart home upgrade.
Switch to LED bulbs.
According to energystar.gov, “LED lighting differs from incandescent and compact fluorescent lighting in several ways. When designed well, LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting. LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passes through semiconductor material, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. The heat produced is absorbed into a heat sink.”
That means more energy savings for you with nearly zero effort.
Stop feeding “energy vampires.”
Madeleine wants you to unplug your blender. “Unplugging electronics when you’re not using them prevents ‘power vampires’ — appliances which continue sucking energy even when they’re turned off!” While it’s unrealistic to unplug your refrigerator and dishwasher every time you leave home, you can easily unplug countertop appliances like blenders, waffle makers, slow cookers and toasters until they need to be used, which for most Americans, isn’t every day. Feel free to go the extra mile to conserve energy by unplugging lamps in rooms you don’t use daily, and stop (for the love of rainforests), leaving your phone plugged in overnight and then just keeping the charger in the outlet.
Your dad was right, just put on a sweater.
“As much as I hate to admit it, our dads were right. If you’re cold – put on a sweater! It’s not just the environment which will thank you, for each degree you lower your home’s temperature within the 60-70′ range, you could save as much as 5% on your heating bill.” That five percent savings could mean a free grocery haul, a night out with friends, or a few new sweaters (which you’ll need), and all you have to do to conserve energy is get cozy in something with fleece. Not bad, right?
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