October 5, 2022 is Energy Efficiency Day — but efficiency is year-round! Here are 5 ways that you can improve your energy efficiency, saving you money and cutting down on how much you pollute!
1. Minimize your energy usage
This could be as simple as not running the dishwasher until it’s completely full, setting your washing machine to the appropriate water level, and washing clothes in cold water. You can also set your refrigerator between 28 – 42 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees, and make sure both are sealed tightly.
A clothes dryer can consume as much energy as a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer combined. Hanging your clothing when possible, using the auto-dry or moisture-sensor settings, and not adding wet items to a load that’s already partially dry can also reduce your energy use for laundry.
2. Turn items completely off
In addition to turning off switches, you can also make sure your electronics are switched off when you’re not actively using them. Chargers for cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices use small amounts of energy even when they’re not charging. Computers can also be set to sleep or hibernation mode, which both use much less power than when they’re on and active. To easily switch them all off at once, plug these items into a power strip.
3. Switch to LED bulbs
LEDs cost about $5 and use about 80% less energy to provide the same amount of light. They can save more than $100 over their lifetime vs. incandescent lighting, and your local utility may even offer a rebate for energy-efficient bulbs.
4. Observe your electricity use
An electricity monitor meter can measure how much energy different electronics in your home use, even when turned on and when turned off. At about $30 each, these devices can help you identify big energy sinks for small items.
5. Mind the gap — and fill it
When combining the gaps around windows and doors in a home, the typical American household could have the equivalent of a 3×3-foot hole in their home! That’s a lot of air getting in and out under your radar. Caulking and weather stripping can seal off these air leaks, and attaching sweeps to door bottoms can stop heated or cooled air from escaping.
Better insulation in your attic, under floors, around your hot water heater and pipes, and in crawl spaces can increase your energy efficiency. Utility companies may also provide free energy audits.
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