We have already talked about saving energy at home by optimizing the heating. In this article we suggest some ways to save electricity that not only will significantly slim down your utility bills, but will also do good to the planet.
We have been enjoying electricity in our homes for barely more than a century, but it has been already many decades that we can’t imagine living even a day without it. However during these years, technology, our necessities and the world around us have changed radically and at a rapid pace. Therefor we should change our consumption methods and habits at the same rhythm; Optimizing our resources to get the most while spending and consuming the least should become our permanent mindset.
Efficient ways to save electricity for example, is no longer just about saving money on bills; it’s the smart way of living in our modern, digital era.
You can save electricity at three different levels:
- The first and necessary stage complies doing practically nothing. All you need to do is modify some habits and apply some minor changes.
- At the second level, apart from changing small habits, you make some technical changes too; These changes comply a little amount of investment which will come back to you at your bills.
- At the third stage, you take matters to a whole different level and modify some parts of interiors and structures to adapt your home or office to the standards of smart and conscious living.
Easy steps to save electricity at home:
Monitor you usage. This is the first, most important and essential step in order to save electricity at home. There are two ways to monitor your usage. You either do a manual monitoring by signing up for a time-of-use program. This can be done through your local utility company and is offered to consumers who use electricity during the off-peak periods. Note that you might end up paying more if the utility company sees that you are using more electricity during peak hours.
The other option is to use an energy monitoring device which costs about $140. This is price might seem a little high, but the results you’ll get will be worth the money. “The device helps determine what your electrical usage is on a real-time basis, while also allowing you to project your monthly bill. Research shows that such a device leads homeowners to consciously reduce their electricity consumption through constant monitoring. Winters are a particularly expensive season electricity-wise so if you would like to save anywhere from 15% to 20% off your utility bills, use an energy monitoring device.”
Turn off the extra lights! This might sound like the most obvious thing to say, but believe us, sometimes the most ordinary and small changes can lead to significant results. In the evening take a tour around the house and turn off any extra light, gadget or device that you or your family are not using. Many times you will find devices that are left switched on.
Beware of energy vampires! Even when you have unplugged you cell phone or your laptop, a plugged charger still consumes (read “waste”) a lot of energy. Often, if not always, we forget to unplug these chargers, or we’re just too lazy to plug and unplug.
Actually for those of us who are too lazy or too forgetful to unplug our chargers, a student called Conor Klein has come up with the idea of a “leech” plug. When the device is fully charged it automatically drops off the plug.
This item is not for purchase yet, but we’re keeping an eye on it. In the meanwhile you can simply use power strips with switches. Simply turn of the switch. Much easier than plugging and unplugging all devices.
Optimize your washing machine. The most of the energy that washing machines consume is due to heating the water. By using cold or lukewarm water you can save electricity.
Don’t over fill the washing machine. It might seem like you can fit almost anything into your waching machine, but the heavier the tub, the harder for it turn, naturally the higher the consumption of electricity.
Optimize your dish washer. The concept of hot water mentioned above applies to your dishwater too. Try to wash with lukewarm or cold water.
Skip the drying function. The air heating function of the dish washer consumes a lot of electricity. Skipping this function can leave water drop marks on your dishware, but fortunately there are special products for dishwashers that will leave no water spots. Just look for them in your local super market.
Fill the dishwasher well. Unlike the washing machine, the dishwasher is more efficient when it is full enough. As long as the dishware is well placed and you don’t risk breaking them, the fuller the better.
Hang dry your clothes. Dryers consume way too much energy, both for heating and for running the spin cycle. A clothes horse is still your best bet. Remember to not dry your clothes on your radiator either, as we said about saving heating at home.
Air condition maintenance. Both in Summer and Winter, clean and straight fins of your air conditioner facilitate the cold or warm air to come out. So it would reduce your consume. Keep the filters clean and the motor lubricated.
Use your microwave oven more than your traditional oven. The microwave consumes less energy and heats more than the traditional oven at the same amount of time. For heating food and basic cooking the microwave is much more efficient and the traditional oven that works with electricity.
Turn off the Christmas tree at night! Not only it’s crucial to save some energy during holidays, a Christmas tree with the lights on could also be a fire hazard.
Small technical changes that help you save electricity:
Change your light bulbs! Old traditional incandescent light bulbs consume so much energy and have such a short life span comparing to compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs and light emitting diodes (LED) that it would be considered an economical and ecological disaster to continue using them. Look at the chart below to compare the energy, their luminosity, lifetime and the cost of these lamps. Leds have also the advantage of being mercury-free, which makes them an even better ecological choice.
Use motion detector lights. These lights automatically turn off when there’s no movement in the room. They’re especially convenient for children’s room, where they often forget to turn off the light when they leave.
Use light colored, opaque lamps. The brighter the color, the less light is absorbed by the lamp itself, so the lighter the area. Put a wall lamp in a corner of two walls where it can light up both walls instead of just one.
Change your showerhead to low-flow. A low-flow shower head (which means they can’t exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi)) mixes water and air and lets the water out like a misty spray. It reduces the consume of hot water and therefor you save on electricity.
Structural changes to save electricity at home.
Paint it white! Colors absorb light. The brighter they are, the less light they absorb, which means less lights you need. For example if you have a green or a gray wall, you will need more light in that room to have the same luminosity, than a room that is all white. This also explains the large use of white and bright colors in Nordic design where natural light is lacking most of the year.
Install Solar Panels. While this might sound a little too ambitious, there is no more efficient way to save electricity and money than using solar energy. Solar energy is a resource that is not only sustainable for energy consumption, it is indefinitely renewable (at least until the sun runs out in billions of years). Solar power can be used to generate electricity, it is also used in relatively simple technology to heat water (solar water heaters).
What’s more, you can even sell the excess energy that your solar implants provide at home, back to your energy provider. Depending on their policy, they pay you back in credit or cash.
Open up new windows. If you live on the highest floor, or in a one flour house, you can even consider a bit of remodeling and open ceiling shades such as Velux windows. This way you can take the most of daylight, reducing your consumption of electricity to minimum during the day. If you open up these shades towards south you can even save on heating.
What are your tips to save on electricity bill at home? Let us in the comments.