With only a few days left until February, this is make-or-break time for sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions. And when it comes to your energy efficiency resolutions, the benefits are numerous, including saving money, making your home more comfortable and reducing its carbon footprint.
So here are five simple ideas for making energy efficiency good practices a routine:
On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. To make the process more efficient, take three basic steps. First, detect and seal all the leaks in your home, which can be the equivalent as leaving a 3-foot-by-3-foot window open.
Second, install a programmable thermostat and configure it following the temperature guidelines from the U.S. Department of Energy. Then make sure you give the systems the maintenance they need: clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners as needed, as dust can make them use more energy.
How to make it a habit: Set a monthly calendar reminder to clean your filters.
If you are reading this, you are probably the kind of person who turns the lights off when leaving a room. The problem is, roommates, children and even we ourselves forget it sometimes. To prevent that, installing occupancy and vacancy sensors can make a difference and cut wasted lighting electricity by 30 percent. And there are options for all budgets.
Fun story: A U.S. Department of Energy veteran has saved enough energy to power 150 homes for a year. He also saved taxpayers $200,000 in energy costs. All by turning the lights off at work. So what are you waiting for? Install that sensor, save energy and prevent the agony when discovering someone has left the lights on.
How to make it a habit: An automatic device will do all the work for you at home, but you can still remind your peers to turn the lights off elsewhere.
LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-certified LEDs, it’s possible to save 9 percent on energy costs annually.
Good news is, LED adoption in the United States increased from 13 million to 78 million in just two years. Make sure you are part of this group too!
How to make it a habit: It will take at least a decade until you need to buy new LED bulbs, but in the meantime, spread the word about how great and cost-saving they are!
That’s an easy one. A washing machine spends 90% of its energy to heat water, so consider using cold water instead. In addition, try to run full loads as much as possible, since the machine uses the same amount of energy regardless of the load size.
How to make it a habit: set a day of the week to do your laundry, and make sure the water is cold. In addition to saving time by not dealing with it multiple times, it will save energy because you will probably accumulate a good amount of clothes throughout the week.
In 2011, Americans traveled a total of 3 trillion miles - the same as doing 6.2 million round-trips to the moon. If you need to commute every day, ask yourself: “How far am I from my destination? Can I possibly bike, carpool or ride transit?” Finding alternative ways to commuting can be highly beneficial, since transportation accounts for 71 percent of oil use in the U.S. However, if driving a car is still the only option, keep a consistent speed, within the limits, avoid heavy items on the vehicle, and have the maintenance up to date.
How to make it a habit: Commuting conveniently is all about finding the best way to get from A to B. You can experiment with multiple alternatives and stick with the best for you and your family.
Using energy more efficiently doesn’t have to be a burden. Simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to creating a more energy-efficient home and life and saving in energy costs. All it takes is making the first move! Are you ready? Let us know in the comments if you’ve taken any of these efficiency measures!