5 Simple Ways to Conserve Energy at Your Home or Small Business
These days, conserving energy any way you can is on everyone’s minds. Every time you lower your utility bill, you’re putting money back into your pocket. Lower energy bills also equate to less energy used, which means less harmful emissions released into our environment. What’s even better, you don’t have to do an expensive overhaul to your home or small business to boost its energy efficiency.
There are many easy and effective things you can do that take little to no investment or DIY experience.
Identify and Minimize Vampire Loads
The term “vampire load” refers to the energy that an appliance or electronic device uses even when it isn’t actually turned on. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (a part of the U.S. Department of Energy), the average household wastes $200 worth of energy per year due to vampire loads. You can eliminate vampire loads by unplugging appliances and electronics when you are not using them, or by plugging them into a power strip, and turning the strip off when you are not using them.
Change Your Light Bulbs
One of the simpler and least expensive changes you make in your home is replacing your light bulbs. According to Energy Star, one of its compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will “save you about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself n about six months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.” Some people are concerned because they contain mercury, however, Energy Star says that CFLs do not release any mercury when in use, and actually lower mercury emissions because they reduce the need for electricity from power plants that actually emit mercury.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a great way to keep your house’s temperature on a regulated schedule. It will keep your house at a comfortable temperature only when it’s needed to be. Forgetting to adjust your thermostat is a quick way to waste energy and rack up your electric bill.
Invest in a Standby Generator
When you are caught in an emergency blackout or power failure, you are incurring costs that you might not even realize. Briggs & Stratton estimates that you would spend $150 per night at a hotel while waiting for the power to come back on, and take a loss of $200 on spoiled food. Investing in a home or commercial standby generator will keep you going when the weather has shut everyone else down and losing money.
Make Windows More Efficient
Even if your windows are sealed well, window glass is only a thin layer against the outside temperature. If you can afford it, install storm windows inside your home. Storm windows will reduce temperature loss by sealing leaks and creating airspace between window panes.
If you cannot afford the installation of storm windows, there are still other simple and inexpensive methods to improve the energy efficiency of your windows. You can cover them with transparent material (like bubble wrap) to improve insulation.
It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to save money on energy resources in your home or business. All you need is a little creativity and mindfulness and you’ll start to see that electric bill slip lower and lower!