15 Ways You Can Conserve Energy & Feel Good About It!
There’s no denying it: Our activities on the planet are making major environmental changes - and most of them aren’t all too great for ourselves or the rest of the world.
We are further at risk of depleting our resources, forcing us to find new ways to continue our activities and our lives.
On top of that, traditional uses of resources like coal, oil, and gas create immense amounts of pollution. Healthwise - this puts our lives at risk. Pollution in our air increases the rates of lung cancer and asthma and places unnecessary stress on many nation’s already-stressed healthcare systems.
So as an individual, what can you do to conserve energy? How can you make a difference?
Ways to Conserve Energy
The truth is that every little bit counts - no matter how small. And no, you don’t have to sit in the dark at home or forego those relaxing hot showers. But get ready to go green - even just a little bit.
Here are 15 ways you can conserve energy and feel good about it.
1. Turn Off Your Lights
This one is simple and completely doable (We bet you can probably hear your father or mother yelling about the power bill after you left all the lights on in the house). If you aren’t in a room, turn off the lights. Additionally, try using minimal lighting by adding LED fairy lights or lamps into your rooms - or replace your lightbulbs for more energy-efficient options.
Make this a habit: When you leave your home, turn off all the lights and your unused appliances. The rule is if you aren’t using it, unplug it or turn it off. If you are particularly bad about this, you might even save a little on that utility bill (bonus!).
2. Reconsider Your Commute
If you want to become a little more health-wise, this one’s for you. Commuting doesn’t have to mean driving everywhere. You can bike, walk, and run. Use what mother nature gave you!
Plus, cars are major culprits of greenhouse gas emissions. Start cutting back. If you can walk there, do it. If you have showers at work and your work is within a reasonable distance, run it. If not, bike instead. Get in shape, feel good, and help save our environment and conserve our energy resources.
Here are some ways that you can reduce your commuting environmental impact.
3. Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry
You likely already have a love-hate relationship with your dryer. We’ve all accidentally shrunk that favorite top or sweater. Well, why not worry no more AND conserve energy? Hang your clothes out to dry instead.
If it’s a little chilly outside for this, invest in an indoor clothing rack. No more shrinking clothes and you’ll save some energy with next to no effort involved - worth it.
4. Don’t Run Your Dishwasher Half Full
This can seriously make a difference. Also, if you a household of 1 or 2 people, consider opting out of the washing machines entirely by washing your dishes by hand. Dishwashers can use 1-3 gallons of water per wash. If it’s not worth it, don’t use it.
It’s important to become more aware of the water you are using. When washing dishes, fill the sink with water as opposed to running water the whole time you are washing.
Another option you have is researching and purchasing an energy-efficient dishwasher that will reduce the impact of larger households.
5. Avoid Messing with Your House’s Thermostat
The highest potential for saving on utilities and energy is right here. Go easy on the heat in the winter and the A/C in the summer. As my dad used to say, if you’re cold, put a sweater on! If you’re too hot, well - consider ways to cool down like the beach or a pool or a fan.
Surprisingly, these utility costs make up almost half of your entire utility bill. This means you could save big. Maybe put it toward that next vacation instead? Or that new phone or laptop you’ve been eyeing?
6. Use LEDs
LED lights are 80% more efficient than other lighting options. Why? Only 5% of the light energy is made into heat - which means 95% of the energy is used for lighting (which is the whole point of having light bulbs in the first place). It also uses less energy - reducing power demands.
Further, they have zero toxic chemicals or substances and have a much longer lifespan than other lighting methods - such as fluorescents or incandescent lights. Start replacing your lights with LED efficient light bulbs today! It’s a small change that won’t really impact your day-to-day - but it will make you feel like you’re doing the environment a small favor.
7. Save on Water Heating
You can purchase energy-efficient water heaters - although, it may cost you a bit upfront.
So, what can you do here? You could take shorter showers (not exactly appealing to some). You could turn down the water temperature or thermostat. You could also insulate your water heater and pipes to get as much out of them as possible.
Here’s another interesting tidbit: Cold showers can actually be good for you. Wait - what? It’s true! It sounds horrifying (and ok it is kind of horrifying and a bit of a shocker first thing in the morning). Cold showers have proven to increase your alertness, increase immunity, help with weight loss, reduce post-workout muscle soreness, decrease stress, and even help with depression. So, why not give it a try?
If you do need that hot shower, try going for a minute less - every little bit counts! Shaving off just one minute of your shower time every day can actually save you about $15 annually.
Related Article: The Fight For Environmental Sustainability: Can You Do More?
8. Upgrade Your Windows
Poorly insulated windows can result in a whopping increase of 10-25% on your utility bills. In other words, a lot of heat is lost through your windows. Making sure your windows are properly insulated can save big on energy consumption. Ask an expert in your local area. Find out if your windows could be problematic.
Insolation can make a huge difference on your power bill. Is your fridge sealed correctly? Are your front and back doors sealed off or are they leaking warm air? Check your windows - is there a draft? Insulate your home the best you can. These small things will save you huge amounts of money and energy consumption in the long run.
9. Clean Your Filters in Your Appliances
New energy-efficient appliances can add up in cost. But what if your appliances are fine but they just need a good cleaning? It’s entirely possible.
The same goes for cleaning the lint regularly out of your dryer and drain pan out of your washer. Do this after each load to increase its efficiency and to avoid having to run the load for a second round.
10. Don’t Let the Tap Run When Brushing Your Teeth
Some of us are way more guilty of this than others (me included). You run the tap to wet your toothbrush, then you walk away. The tap is still running. You spend the next minute or so brushing your teeth before going back to the running tap.
Now, imagine how much water that running tap just wasted. How many buckets of water could that have just filled?
Lesson learned: Don’t waste more water than you have to. Just turn it off! Only use what you need.
11. Pull Out That Slow-Cooker!
Surprisingly, a slow-cooker has the potential to be almost 75% more efficient than a conventional oven. Plus, there are a ton of recipes, like slow cooker apple cider or slow-cooked BBQ brisket. All you need to do is google ‘slow cooker recipes’ and you will get endless options.
A bonus is that most of the time your food or dinner can be ready to eat when you get home - no after-work dinner prep required! You kill two birds with one stone. What’s not to love?
12. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Do you often select the warm cycle option for washing your clothes? Next time, do the environment and earth a favor and choose a cold wash. It saves on your water heating bills. Cold water is more likely to get out stains than scorching hot water. Try to do this as often as you can.
No, you don’t need to do it all the time - but remember, small things matter here! Every once and a while is still doing your part for the environment.
13. Try a Capsule Wardrobe
It’s no secret. As humans, we love to consume. That instant gratification is so easy when you purchase new clothing or even buy something online. You get that little burst of feeling good.
While self-care is undeniably important. Shopping can quickly get out of hand. Further, most of the products we buy aren’t developed in the most environmentally-sustainable way.
A capsule wardrobe solves all these problems. It involves having a basic set of clothes that you can mix and match. It doesn’t involve necessarily following trends super strictly, and it can definitely save your bank account plus the energy-costs.
Think about how much gas is used to deliver that one piece of clothing item to your house. It’s a lot. Reduce your impact here and save your hard-earned cash. Trends come and go. But a capsule wardrobe is here to stay.
14. Consider a More Energy-Efficient HVAC System
This is more so for those that live in older homes. Older homes come with older energy systems - meaning they aren’t as efficient. If you live in an older home and have never updated the HVAC system, consider doing so. It might cost you now but will save you in the long-run.
Another note here is to check your windows to ensure they are sealed properly. This could not only cost you hundreds of dollars a year but also make a dent in how much energy you are using.
15. Find Ways to Be More Fuel-Efficient on the Road
If you must drive, consider a few of these tips:
- Save gas by taking off the roof rack. It creates resistance - meaning you have to use more fuel to get from point A to B.
- Drive slow. Reduce your speed from 80 mph to 70 mph (or for the Canadians out there, drive at 100 km/h or 110 km/h). It can save you 25% in fuel costs.
- Maintain your car on the regular for efficiency and proper functioning (this includes good tires!).
- Open your windows instead of using the A/C.
- Opt for a manual or standard car - they use 10-15% less fuel.
Let’s Save Energy
How and where can you save on energy? Use our 15 tips above to help guide you.
Our beautiful world deserves the best chance we can give it. And health-wise, you deserve it too. Start conserving more energy today, even small changes can make big leaps.
Want to continue your sustainability journey? Read How Can We Help Reduce Our Environmental Impact? next