Saving energy means saving pennies. But, some energy-saving techniques such as adding insulation or installing new windows are costly for homeowners and unavailable to renters. However, the good news is that there are many ways for you to get started on that better way-of-life. You don’t even have to do any major changes, especially if you don’t have the budget right now. There are many techniques to enable you to save energy, which are easy, simple, and friendly for your pocket.
To help you get started on living an eco-friendly lifestyle, here are 10 inexpensive ways to save energy in your home or apartment without breaking the bank or launching major projects.
Switch To Compact Fluorescents For Your Five Most-Used Lights
Yes, compact fluorescents are initially more expensive ($2 to $20) than conventional incandescent bulbs, but some utilities subsidize them and the remaining extra cost is worth it.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a single compact fluorescent will shave $60 off your energy bill in its lifetime and keep a half ton of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The Federal Energy Star program notes that if every household in the nation switched five bulbs, we could shut down 24 power plants. Compact fluorescent bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy and last six to 10 times longer than conventional bulbs—not a bad return on your small investment! This is a change that you can feel in the long run – when you no longer have to purchase new lights as frequently as you may have used to.
Even better yet, you may also want to switch your outdoor lights into solar street lighting. These are often cheap to buy, and also very easy to install. By using solar-powered lighting, you’re able to save on energy since you’re now using a renewable energy source.
Insulate Your Windows
If you don’t have double-pane windows and can’t afford to install them, consider putting up plastic.
Window plastic comes in kits ($4 to $6 per window) that are available at most hardware stores, and can be installed easily.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the pocket of air created between the plastic and the window serves as insulation, reducing heat loss by 25 to 50 percent. This comes in handy during the winter season. Because of this energy-saving tactic, heat is retained inside your home. Hence, it takes away the need for you to heat up your heater too much.
Don Sweaters And Fuzzy Slippers
Before turning up the thermostat, ask yourself if you might be just as comfortable putting on some layers. The DOE calculates that your energy bill will go up three percent for each degree you raise the thermostat. Remember that tightly knit clothing is warmer than loose-knit, and wool is warmer than cotton.
Use Hot Water Efficiently
Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators—you”ll use less water, so you”ll have to heat less water.
The DOE notes that a low-flow showerhead reduces the amount of water you must heat by 20 gallons, without reducing the quality of your shower. A $10 to $20 showerhead will pay for itself within three or four months.
Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible and use the washer only with a full load. Keep your water heater set between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
This simple change, particularly during the summer, can give off a major contribution in making your home more eco-friendly.
Watch Your Appliance Use
Everyday appliances siphon huge amounts of energy off the grid, but those with Energy Star ratings use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models. When cooking, the NRDC advises consumers to “resist the urge to open the oven door to peek—each opening can reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees.” Efficiency Vermont suggests keeping refrigerators at 36 to 38 degrees, and freezers at zero to five degrees. Unplug televisions when not in use, as they will continue to draw power even when switched off. Computers should be set to “hibernate” when abandoned temporarily.
Use Blinds And Curtains Wisely
In the winter, open window coverings during the day to let in solar radiation and shut them at night to keep the heat in. Emulate the pioneers by only exposing south and west-facing windows. In the summer, apply this principle in reverse. Keep windows shaded during the day to keep the heat out.
Pay Attention To Your Thermostat
The NRDC recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter, and dropping it down to 55 degrees when you are asleep or are away from the house for more than a couple hours.
Stop Drafts In Windows And Under Doors
The Utah Department of Natural Resources suggests you can reduce your energy bill by 10 percent by ferreting out and sealing up air leaks. The DOE advises consumers to “pay special attention around windows and where siding or bricks and wood trim meet.” Caulking, sealant, and weather stripping will do the trick and are available at most hardware stores. Cute little draft blockers can be had at most craft fairs.
Close Doors And Vents To Unused Rooms
Many of us live in houses with more space than we need, yet we still spend the money to heat empty rooms. First off, be sure that you switch off heaters and close vents in these rooms when there are no people. For example, there’s no need for you to heat up your garage, your designated storage areas, and even your laundry room.
The DOE calculates that, “by closing the vents to just one spare bedroom in a five-room house, you can instantly cut your heating bills by as much as 20 percent.”
Use A Humidifier
According to the DOE, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”
Moisture from a humidifier will increase the “heat index,” making 68 degrees feel like 76. Maintain a relative humidity between 30 to 50 percent to keep condensation off the windows. Plus, this moisture in the air can also add benefits, such as keeping your furniture last longer.
The energy-saving effects of a humidifier are most felt in the winter time, whereby the air can now feel warmer than it would with dry air. This can help you save on electricity costs in the cold, winter season.
Saving energy is an effort that’s worth doing by everyone today. First off, it helps you contribute to the environmental cause. If you can live a lifestyle that’s more environment-friendly, then why not. While doing so, you’re also saving energy in your home. In effect, your electricity bill will be lower as well.
As you can see by now, saving energy doesn’t have to be through difficult and big means. Even simple changes in your lifestyle are more than enough.