Sometimes saving the planet and saving your money align perfectly and reducing the electricity you use around your home is a perfect example of this. Clearly the less power you use the less that your utility company is going to charge you. In addition when you reduce your energy needs you’ll also cut down on the greenhouse gases that are released in the production of most domestic electricity or will perhaps even allow you to go one step further and become completely sustainable by using only renewable energy sources such as solar panel kits in your home.
Think Energy Ratings
Most environmental scientists agree that the cost to produce a new TV, washing machine or suchlike is quickly offset against the environmental savings to be had when you invest in a new low-energy version. Now clearly swapping all the technology in your home simply doesn’t make financial sense but it does make sense to carefully consider all your options when it comes to replacing any electrical device as it reaches the end of it’s natural life. Get familiar with energy ratings and visit consumer review sites to help you make informed decisions about new purchases.
Discover Energy-Efficient Cooking Practices
Many people use plenty of electricity to cook their meals whether that involves an oven, a hob or a microwave let alone the food processors, mixers, sandwich toasters and other “essential” kitchen gadgets.
Fortunately there are all sorts of ways to use less energy to prepare your meals such as leaving your oven door shut as much as possible to keep the heat in, boiling vegetables with the lids on pans for the same reason and “batching” your cooking so that you use as few electrical devices as possible.
Raw food, one-pan cooking and similar strategies will help to ensure you haven’t got your oven, hob, grill and microwave all going at the same time in order to put together a single meal. Even better, when you do cook, consider making more food than you need so that you can rely on leftovers for a day or two afterwards thus cutting down even more on the electricity you would otherwise have used.
Ditch The Standby
Whether it’s your computer going into “sleep mode” or the “standby” feature on your TV it seems that devices left on standby mode use almost as much electricity as they do when they are operating fully. This means that by leaving your electrical devices plugged into the main – even if you’re not actively using them at that point – can use up a surprising amount of power.
Counteract this issue by either properly turning off and unplugging electrical devices when they’re not in use.
Air Dry Your Clothes
Tumble dryers use huge amounts of power to operate so consider using your dryer as a last ditch resort after days of heavy rain where you have to get your clothes dry now. Otherwise hang your clothes out to dry in the air which will not only save electricity but also help to leave them smelling fresh and clean rather than the stale, stagnant smell that can arise from tumble drying clothes.
Switch Off Your Lights
Firstly ensure you’re using the latest energy-efficient bulbs rather than old-fashioned incandensent bulbs but furthermore only switch on a light if you need it. That means switching off lights whenever you leave a room. The myth of light bulbs using more power when you initially turn them on – so leaving lights on for extended period of time being environmentally-friendly – has largely been dispelled now through careful monitoring of domestic electricity use. If you don’t need them – turn them off.
Laptops Not Desktops
Laptops use considerably less electricity than desktops to do the same job so consider making your laptop your “main” computer and only using your desktop for tasks that require lots of processing power like editing videos. Indeed I am writing this article right now on a small netbook that uses even less power yet serves virtually all my computing needs.
Clean Only Full Loads
Washing machines and dish washers use virtually the same resources whether they contain a single item or are chock-full so try planning ahead so you do only full loads. Not only will this potentially make your life easier because you’re not having to constantly load and unload your machines but you’ll save a considerable amount of power over the course of a few weeks.
Buy An Energy Monitor
When I eat pizza I naturally put on weight. But the weight is added so gently and so slowly that I barely notice it until my jeans won’t do up. Then suddenly I realize how much weight I’ve gained and I immediately start living on salad and running every morning to try and get back to my old shape.
A similar situation can arise with your electricity use. If you don’t immediately see the effects of your actions it’s easy to ignore them or forget about them until the electricity bill lands on your doormat and you’re left screaming “HOW MUCH?!”.
Of the people I know that have invested just a few dollars in a basic electricity monitor almost all of them have been shocked at how much power they use at home and have found it both an educational and motivational exercise to see just how much energy they can save if they try. Furthermore when you actively monitor your energy use it’s far easier to spot those ” energy vampires” when you’re shocked to see the figures going up so quickly as you turn on your hair dryer or desk-fan or whatever.
By monitoring your home energy use you gain a far better understanding of what is using a lot of electricity around your home and it becomes far easier to make educated decisions about what lifestyle or technology changes you need to implement to gain control of the situation.
Discover Pleasures That Don’t Involve Electricity
Our modern society relies on electricity in a huge way to entertain ourselves. Whether that’s watching TV, surfing the net, listening to music or playing video games our domestic energy use goes up massively when we all get home from work and need entertaining. Now I like video games as much as the next person (Mario Galaxy, anyone?!) but it can also be a smart idea to consider hobbies and pastimes that don’t rely on heavy electricity use.
Ask yourself when the last time was that you picked up a book or magazine, whether you might like to spend more time gardening, or learning to ride a horse, or walking in the countryside, or improving your photography. There’s a whole world of options out there that require minimal use of electricity yet are generally more enjoyable and healthier than sitting on your couch staring at a box in the corner of your living room.