When it comes to combating air pollution and climate change, taking action at the state and federal level is certainly important to effecting real change. But so are small actions that you, personally, can take every day at home. These simple habits, little home improvements, and “smart” shopping tips can lead to significant energy savings over time. Skeptical? Try it. Let your electric bill speak for itself.
Turn things off
This doesn’t just mean you turn off the light when you leave a room. (Although that is also important). You should also make sure that your television, computer, game consoles, cable boxes, and digital video recorders are completely turned off when you are not actively using them or completely unplugged if they light up or consume power even when they are off. Chargers for cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices use small amounts of power even when they are not charging. Plug them into a power strip if you use them regularly so that you can easily turn them off.
Buy more efficient light bulbs
A light-emitting diode bulb, better known as an LED, costs as little as $ 5.00 at home improvement stores and can save you more than $ 100.00 over its lifetime. LEDs use up to 85% less energy to provide the same amount of light as incandescent ones, and they also come in many varieties, different colors, and intensities. You can get them to turn on to full brightness instantly and dimmer. Find out if your energy service provider offers discounts for using energy-efficient light bulbs, which would further lower your cost.
Don’t use more energy than you need.
Don’t run your dishwasher when it’s not full; set your washer to the proper water level and wash clothes – except heavily soiled ones – in cold water. Set the refrigerator to a temperature between 28 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer between 0 and 5; make sure both seal well. (If a bill on the door is easy to pull out, replace the stamps.)
Fine-tune the TV preferences.
Although today’s high-definition televisions use around 60 percent less power than their predecessors, some of the internet-ready models consume excess power after being turned off, thanks to the quick-on mode, which allows you to start a few seconds faster. Disable that option in your preferences. And while you’re there, see if your TV has an Automatic Brightness Control or ABC sensor, which will adjust the brightness of the screen according to the light level in the room. As most television consumption occurs at night, this can make a big difference in energy consumption.