There are so many ways to conserve energy – saving money (and our planet!) in the process. Some bigger changes require advance planning and an investment of time and money, but don’t underestimate the power of small, immediate changes to your daily routine that, when combined, can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
FUN FACT: A family of four does about 480 loads of laundry per year.
Here are 10 easy ways to get started.
- If you’re boiling water, use a kettle or put a lid on the saucepan. The water will come to a boil sooner, and use less energy getting there.
- Don’t keep your refrigerator colder than it needs to be. The refrigerator compartment should be set to a maximum of 40°F, and the freezer compartment should be at or below 0°F. An inexpensive appliance thermometer can help you dial in to the efficiency zone without sacrificing food safety.
- A clothesline is the most energy-efficient way to dry your laundry – and if you haven’t slept on line-dried bedsheets, you don’t know what you’re missing. Air drying your clothing can also reduce shrinkage.
- If you do use an electric or gas clothes dryer, be sure to clean the lint screen after each load. A clogged lint screen means your dryer will take longer to dry your laundry, and it’s also a fire hazard. Dryer fires are responsible for as much as $35 million in property loss each year.
- During heating season, keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let in the warmth of the sun – and close them at night, to keep the heat in and the cold out. In warmer months, the opposite is true.
- Don’t leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes. A running tap wastes more than two gallons of water per minute.
- Don’t leave electronic devices on standby – computers, printers, and home entertainment components all continue to use power, even when they’re switched off. Plug them into a smart power strip, which allows you to cut off the power to all connected devices with a single button.
- Skip the drying cycle on your dishwasher – pop open the door and let your dishes air dry instead, or use the air-dry setting if your appliance is equipped with one. Dress appropriately for the weather. Half of your utility bill is used for heating and cooling your home, and lowering the thermostat by even one degree will save energy and money.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room – that’s one thing your father was right about!