Today, electricity is used for almost everything. Whether that’s heating and cooling, cooking, lighting, computers, or charging your car, electricity is more important than ever. With our increasing population and new gadgets, electricity consumption, and costs, are increasing. In this article, we’ll share a few tips on how to reduce energy use and costs.
Why reduce energy consumption?
Energy consumption is growing rapidly around the world. A 2019 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that world energy usage will increase by nearly 50% by 2050.
With this increase in energy, power production will also have to increase to meet demand. This, in turn, can drive up the cost of electricity bills and put more stress on the power grid.
We don’t have to look to 2050 to see this increase. Currently, U.S. energy rates are increasing in most states. This can become especially burdensome for those who need to heat or cool their homes or businesses in extreme climates like the sunbelt.
Cost and growing demand aren’t the only reasons to reduce energy consumption. Most of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels. Depending on where you live, your energy consumption could be helping to drive more pollution. In Utah, most of our energy comes from coal power plants, which contributes to pollution and climate change.
By reducing energy consumption, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll be helping to save the environment.
7 ways to reduce energy consumption and costs
So, how do we reduce energy consumption and costs? Here are 7 tips for saving energy.
Purchase energy efficient appliances and electronics
One way to reduce your energy consumption is to use energy efficient appliances. Older appliances and electronics often use more energy than their modern counterparts. So, it might be time to upgrade from that 40 year-old refrigerator.
When selecting a new appliance, computer, TV, or other electronic, looking for the Energy Star label. An Energy Star label means the appliance uses less energy than the standard models.
Use energy efficient lighting
LEDs and CFLs have quickly become the standard for lighting, and for good reason. These lights use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they often last longer.
An article from The Washington Post found that “using efficient LED or CFL lights instead of incandescents will save an average U.S. household about 35 percent off their lighting costs each year.”
One of the common gripes about LED light bulbs is the color and intensity of the light. While this used to be a problem, LEDs come in many different color temperatures and brightness. No matter your preference, you’ll be able to find the right LED light for you.
Insulate and seal your home to reduce heating and cooling costs
Heating and cooling makes up the bulk of the average American household’s electricity bill. However, much of the heat or cool air produced could be escaping due to a lack of insulation and proper sealing.
Check your home for any drafts. You can also feel your walls to see if they are letting too much outside temperature in. Be sure to insulate your walls to keep the desired temperature in your home.
According to the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Audit, “the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 10% to 20% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward.”
You’ll also want to check if your water heater and hot water pipes are properly insulated. This will prevent heat from escaping before it reaches your faucet.
You should also check your furnace ducts for leaks. Sealing your air ducts will ensure that heat or cold air is not lost in the walls or ceiling of your home.
Prevent phantom loads and energy vampires
Phantom loads, or vampire loads, occur when electronics and appliances continue to use energy even when turned off. This is extremely common in most homes, with devices such as TVs and even toasters using energy while off.
According to the U.S. Bonneville Power Authority, vampire loads “can add up to about $200 in yearly costs.” That’s $200 of energy being wasted on times not in use.
To reduce your energy consumption from phantom loads, unplug devices when they aren’t in use. You can also purchase advanced power strips that automatically cut power to outlets when devices are turned off.
Change the way you do laundry
Laundry is another area where energy consumption can be cut drastically. Every time you wash a load of laundry, you use energy (and water). Try to use large loads when possible to reduce the amount of energy required to wash your clothes.
You should also consider using cold water to wash your clothes. Not only does cold water help keep the color of your clothes for longer, but in most cases cold water is sufficient for cleaning your clothes. This will eliminate the need for your water heater to work overtime on laundry day.
When it comes to drying your clothes, you should avoid packing the dryer, as it will take more energy to completely dry your clothes. If you really want to cut your power consumption, you might also consider line drying some of your clothes to cut down on the number of dryer cycles.
Use a programmable or smart thermostat
Using a programmable thermostat or a smart thermostat will allow you to optimize your home’s heating and cooling to reduce energy usage. Remember, heating and cooling makes up the largest part of the average household’s energy bill.
By setting heating and cooling times, you’ll waste less energy. If you are at work for 8 hours during the day, set your thermostat to only heat or cool the house right before you get home, rather than for that entire duration. You can also set your thermostat to be dormant while you sleep, only kicking on again before you wake up.
Speaking of thermostats, you can save a lot of energy just by changing it a few degrees. According to The Washington Post, “setting the thermostat at 68 degrees instead of 70 during the winter and 75 degrees instead of 73 during summer will save 12 percent to 16 percent per year on heating and cooling costs.”
Spend time away from electronics
For our final tip, spending time away from electronics can reduce your energy usage. Instead of watching TV, playing video games, or using a computer, turn those devices off. Engage in some other non-energy consuming activities every once in a while.
Read a book. Go for a walk. Meditate. Work out. Do some gardening outside. All of these activities require little electricity, save maybe some lighting.
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to reducing your energy usage, and power bill. However, there are other ways to slash your energy bill and invest in more reliable, clean energy.
How solar panels can help you save energy
When it comes to saving energy, solar panels might not be the first solution that comes to mind. However, they offer the largest benefit to reducing your power bills and your carbon footprint.
At ES Solar, we developed customized solar panel system plans for your home or business based on your needs. Whether you need a system that powers your entire house, or just a supplementary power source, installing a solar system can reduce your energy usage and cost.
Since solar is a renewable and green energy source, it doesn’t create pollution when it generates power. And, since you are generating your own power, your energy use isn’t taxing on the power grid. This means that you no longer have to worry about conserving energy or how expensive your utility bills will be.
With our growing world, reducing energy usage is incredibly important. By reducing energy usage, we can free up stress on the energy grid, help create a more sustainable future, and save money on energy bills.
From upgrading appliances to preventing phantom loads, there are many ways that we can help to lower energy consumption.
However, none have as large of an effect as switching to solar energy. Break free from your utility bills with your own solar panel system.
ES Solar is the leading solar panel provider in Utah. With more than 10 years of experience and a team of highly qualified installers, ES Solar can help you make the switch to solar. No matter where you live in Utah, we’ll help you determine if going solar is right for you.
Contact us today at 801-614-0606.
Article written by Chase Charaba.