15 Ways You Can Conserve Energy & Feel Good About It!
19 out of the 20 world leaders recently committed to fight climate change (the lone wolf was Trump, but that’s a whole other topic).
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. Health wise - this puts our lives at risk. It increases rates of lung cancer and asthma. In turn, it places even more stress on the healthcare system (again, a whole other topic!).
So as an individual, what can you do to conserve energy? How can you make a difference?
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
Simple. Obvious. And completely doable. If you aren’t in a room, turn off the lights. Use minimal lighting. When you leave your home, turn off all the lights. The same thing goes for appliances. The rule is if you aren’t using it, unplug it or turn it off. If you are particularly bad for 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.
3. Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry
You likely already have a love-hate relationship with your dryer. We’ve all accidentally shrunk that favourite 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
Seriously. And if you are 1 or 2 people, think about just 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.
Yet… there are many energy efficient dishwashers out there. And if you find you use more than 3 gallons of water when washing dishes, it might be worth it for you. 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.
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 favour.
7. Save on Water Heating
You can purchase energy efficient water heaters - although, it may cost you a bit up front. 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). But it’s proven to improve 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.
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.
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. Make sure to do an annual clean of your dishwasher’s, refrigerator’s, and other appliances’ filters. These machines will perform more efficiently after cleaning. Regular maintenance is really all it takes sometimes!
(Also, the same goes for cleaning the lint regularly out of your dryer. 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
I feel this one is told to us when we’re kids - but hey, a reminder never hurts! Turn off the tap while you brush! Don’t waste more water than you have to.
11. Pull Out That Slow-Cooker!
Surprisingly, a slow-cooker has the potential to be almost 75% more efficient than a conventional oven. Start using it more. 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!
12. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
It saves on your water heating bills. And cold water is more likely to get out stains than scorching hot water. Try to do this as often as you can.
13. Insulate! Insulate! Insulate!
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. Again, it saves you huge in money and energy consumption.
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.
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 include good tires!).
- Open your windows instead of using the A/C.
- Opt for a manual or standard car - they use 10-15% less fuel.
Save Energy on World Energy Conservation Day!
December 14th marks World Energy Conservation Day. 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!