Many people associate green living with drastic lifestyle changes or giving up modern conveniences. However, there are a number of simple ways to reduce energy costs and consumption without sacrificing comforts.
Of course, it is important to understand many of the common sources of energy loss to know where to start. This guide will show simple ways to gauge your energy consumption and ways to go green without stressing your lifestyle or budget.
Analyzing Energy Costs
When it comes to reducing energy bills, knowing the appliances and devices that consume the most power helps. Though your personal situation might vary, due to model differences and other factors, common energy hogs in the home include:
- Air Conditioners and Dehumidifiers
- Water Heaters
Refrigerators and Freezers
Computers and other Electronics
Efficiency for many of these devices and appliances has increased drastically in the last 10 to 20 years. If your clothes dryer, refrigerator or water heater is old, simply replacing them could pay for the cost of the upgrade in just a few years. When it comes to upgrading lighting, the initial cost of upgrading to LED light bulbs might seem extreme. However, their low power consumption and 15 to 30-year average lifespan balance out the cost easily.
If you are unsure of which devices around your home are culprits to your power bills, there are a variety of easy-to-use meters available to check power draw at a glance. Outlet and meter combinations, such as the P3 International Kill A Watt, can monitor electricity use of any common household appliance. By measuring the Kilowatt-hour usage of a device, finding out its overall impact on your energy bills is as simple as multiplying by the unit price on your utility bill.
Common Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption and Cost
1. Utilize Low-Wattage Space Heaters
Heat pumps, furnaces and traditional space heaters are notoriously inefficient. Even if they are up-to-date and offer high energy-to-heat conversion, they are often heating large areas of your home. Low-wattage heaters, such as space heaters from Cozy, allow you to heat specific areas for reduced cost without reduced comfort.
Most low-wattage heaters feature radiant heat panels. This technology provides fast warm-up times, often within minutes of turning on the heater. These panels also produce zero noise. That makes them great for the bedroom or office. When compared to traditional 1500-watt heaters, the energy savings potentially exceed 90-percent.
2. Unplug Devices When Not In Use
A major source of energy waste in the home is phantom energy loss. When your television, computer or coffee maker is on standby, it still consumes small amounts of electricity. While each device might not consume much in standby, the number of devices in the modern home is higher than ever. Common devices and appliances to unplug include:
- Set Top Boxes
- Home Audio Systems
- Video Game Consoles
If you would rather avoid the hassle of unplugging your devices, there is an easier way to save and go green. Switched surge suppressors, such as those made by Tripp Lite, use advanced circuitry to help you reduce your power usage without changing your routine. By plugging a main device, such as your television, in the main outlet, then plugging accessories into the secondary outlets, power is cut to all devices when you turn off your television.
3. Use Home Automation for Energy Savings and Convenience
Home automation devices were once reserved for mansions and movie stars. These days, they can be found at most major home improvement stores or online for affordable prices. From motion-sensing light sockets to power outlets activated through Twitter, there are plenty of options from which to choose. Automating common household energy consumers, such as lights, irrigation systems or climate control units, can help to reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint drastically.
Whether you are staying warm with Cozy’s space heaters or reducing energy waste with smart surge suppressors, there many ways to go green without sacrificing comforts or spending a fortune. By replacing aging appliances, upgrading to new technologies and monitoring energy consumption, going green is simple.
About the author: Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. In addition to writing for firms such as IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites, he also shoots, directs, and edits the hit celebrity web series Teens Wanna Know. Catch his rare blog posts on williepena.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.