Energy use powers our homes and our lives, from the first cup of coffee in the morning to the late night netflix before bed. When you think of energy and electricity, the first word that probably comes to mind is bills. However, home energy use is a major component of our personal carbon footprint, and contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. The global average energy use for individuals is 58 KwH per day, which creates 58 pounds of carbon dioxide per person. While we cannot separate modern living from the use of energy, there are many ways to lower your energy consumption and impact on the environment, while also saving money on your energy bills.
Turn down your thermostat:
Heating a home is the highest category of Lowering your thermostat is a great way to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home while also cutting costs on electricity bills. Turn it down by a few degrees daily and you can save up to 1-3% on your heating bill per degree. If the house is vacant during the day, turn the thermostat down 7 - 10 degrees, and you can save up to 15% on your heating bill.
Air seal your home:
As you now know, heat is the highest energy consumption category for most homes in the United States. If you have a drafty window or an old, ineffective door seal, money is literally flying out the window as heat escapes and the household heating unit needs to work harder to meet the desired temperature on the thermostat. Check the seals of your windows and doors, and replace those that are old or damaged, and the EPA estimates that you can save 11% on overall energy bills.
Beware of energy vampires:
The term sounds like the stuff of myths, but energy vampires are real, and will drain your wallet as they suck energy. Energy vampires are electronics and devices that continue to draw power from your outlets while plugged in even when not in use. Common culprits include phone chargers, game devices and consoles, devices that turn on instantly with a remote control, coffee makers, and wall art or clocks. Unplug unused devices, and save up to 10% on your energy bill.
Wash your clothing with cold water
Laundry is a constant activity in most households, and is also one of the highest uses of home energy, as water heating is the second highest category of average energy expenditure. 75 - 80% of clothings life cycle impact on the planet comes from washing and drying, due to having to heat the water and the air that is used. An easy way to combat this is to wash your clothing with cold water, and if your dryer has the setting to dry without heat, do so to save energy and money used on clothing.
Use low flow shower heads
As we mentioned earlier, water heating is the second highest category of energy use in most households. We are definitely not saying stop showering (seriously, keep showering), but the use of low flow showerheads increase water efficiency, and therefore decrease the amount of water that needs to be heated.
Fix leaky faucets
By now you know that we are big fans of saving water, so here is another easy way to increase water use efficiency: fix those leaky faucets! While this may seem like a trivial detail, leaky faucets create one trillion gallons of water waste globally per year.
With these simple changes, you can save money while lowering your personal carbon footprint. To increase your energy efficiency even further, whenever you are looking to replace a broken or old appliance, be sure to look for the most energy efficient options. They may have a higher initial cost, but over time, the energy and financial savings will prove that these environmentally friendly options are worth the investment. We wish you the best on your journey to greener living. Be sure to look out for more tips in future articles, and feel free to contact us if there is a topic you would be interested to learn about; chances are people in the Flourish community are looking for the same information, and we’ll give you a shout-out for your participation!