As we look toward a new year and the start of a new decade, let’s consider what sort of impact our resolutions have beyond the scope of our own lives. One way to make a positive change for the earth and all its inhabitants, is to resolve to do our part for the greater good. The last decade was marked by the negative effects of global climate change, but it was also marked by governments and organizations stepping up to do their part to combat this.
The most significant driver of reduced carbon emissions and the transition to renewable energy is energy efficiency. Using less energy is a win-win as it benefits the earth and saves us money. Using less energy through efficiency measures means less fossil fuels need to be used to generate power. When we use less energy overall, it makes the transition to renewably-sourced energy more affordable and feasible for everyone.
Let’s make energy efficiency our new year’s resolution with a few easy-to-follow tips!
Year-round your local utility company may offer free in-home energy efficiency audits. Take advantage of these programs to get personalized information on your energy usage and learn how to lower your monthly bill. Some programs may even include free upgrades like LED lightbulbs and information on financing for recommended renovations such as efficient windows or HVAC modifications.
Winter-Time Energy Saving Tips:
Let natural light and sunshine in whenever it is available. This may be done by opening window dressings as well as making sure any trees and shrubs are kept trimmed away from windows. This will mean your furnace won’t have to run as long.
Turn your thermostat down a few degrees at night. This will help improve sleep quality and your furnace will not have to work any harder to heat up in the morning.
Take advantage of seasonal sales on smart thermostats! They are programmable to save you energy.
To save on hot water usage, turn down the temperature on your hot water heater and place insulation around the pipes to prevent heat loss. Taking shorter showers and washing clothes in cold water will also reduce hot water use.
Summer-Time Energy Saving Tips:
Use blinds and curtains to shade sunshine on hot days. This will give your A/C unit a little break.
Program your thermostat to be lower at night so that the A/C won’t have to work as hard when temperatures get hotter during the day.
Turn down A/C during the day as well. Take advantage of ceiling fans to circulate air for comfort.
Choose to grill and microwave meals rather than heating the indoors with an oven or stovetop.
Year-Round Energy Saving Tips:
Remember to change furnace filters regularly. This will allow for efficient air flow as well as improved indoor air quality. Set monthly reminders to check your filter all year long.
Keep windows open when the weather is temperate and keep them closed and sealed when the weather is more severe.
If possible, upgrade older appliances to Energy Star certified models. This will save money on your electric bill right away. Same goes for high efficiency HVAC systems. These will save money each and every month, making them worthwhile investments for you and the planet.
Power outages may be prevented by reducing in-home energy use in times of extreme temperatures and by keeping trees trimmed away from power lines.