Energy saving is a key activity whether one is trying to save money or save the planet. Understanding your energy usage is the first step to decrease your energy use, and following tips for large and small scale energy saving activities can help lower bills and do good for the environment.
The first step toward energy saving is to understand your current energy use. Look at your energy bills from the past year; most people’s energy use changes seasonally. For example, energy use decreases in the spring and fall as heating and air conditioning remains at a moderate level. Summer and winter are usually the most expensive seasons. If possible, ask your power company for a detailed breakdown of energy use by appliance as well, so you can determine which activities use the most energy.
Once you understand how much energy you use you can begin exploring ways to save that energy. Major investments and minor changes can make a difference. For major energy saving projects, installing solar panels and energy efficient appliances can be a good way to go. While these major projects do cost more in the short-term, they typically provide substantial cost savings over time. For example, some utilities allow houses and businesses with solar panels to sell excess energy back to the power company, not only providing an energy saving opportunity for the home owner, but also keeping costs very low. Solar panels can also be a good option since they create energy. Since all residences and businesses need some sort of energy to function, installing solar panels can substantially off-set energy needs.
Energy saving appliances can also be a major investment up front, but the savings over time through lower energy bills provide a long-term incentive to decrease energy use. The majority of newer washers, dryers, dishwashers, and air conditioning and heating systems are all energy saving appliances, so particularly if you are looking to replace an old appliance, find one that saves energy.
As much as you can gain from a major energy saving purchase, sometimes those major investments have to wait for a few months. In these cases smaller activities can help with energy saving. While these come at little to no monetary cost to an energy user, they can still save a small amount each month. Simple things like turning out lights after everyone has left the room, putting lights on dimmer switches to reduce the amount of energy used when lights are on, and turning off computers in the evening save an incremental amount. In addition, pre-setting the air conditioner to come on when it’s 77 degrees instead of 75 degrees or conversely pre-setting at a lower temperature for the heat is a great way to save energy and money over time.
In the end, whether you are looking for energy savings in big purchases or small changes, follow these tips to lower your monthly bills and save energy easily.