As the dark, winter evenings make way for warmer spring nights, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to “spring clean” our energy habits!
From your kitchen to your laundry room there are dozens of small, but impactful, ways you can make a difference in not only your utility bills, but in your mission to live a greener lifestyle.
Start with one or two of these and soon they will all become your family’s environmentally-friendly habits!
Switch Out Old Light Bulbs
Are you still using traditional incandescent light bulbs in your home? What are you waiting for?! A cost-effective alternative is right up the street at your local hardware store. Opt for compact fluorescent and LED bulbs, which emit anywhere from 30-80% less electricity than old-fashioned bulbs while also lasting three times longer. When you compare the price on the shelves side by side, the LED bulbs may cost a bit more, but you will immediately notice savings in your utility bill so the long-term cost is considerably less than halogens. (Added bonus: for the warmer summer months, these bulbs will put off less heat, too, keeping your home cooler and more comfortable.)
There are dozens of simple ways you can save energy in the kitchen, but we have a few favorites. Use the smaller burner for small pans so heat and energy don't escape unnecessarily. Only open the oven when your food is done so as not to let valuable heat escape. Your hungry kids might like this one best - keep your freezer and fridge full! It takes less energy to cool down a full fridge or freezer than an empty one. Turn off the heated dry feature on your dishwasher and let dishes air dry instead.
Unplug When Not In Use
Want to save $200 per year?! Here's an easy solution: get rid of those "phantom loads," or the energy used by your appliances when they are plugged in but not in use. It's estimated that 75% of the energy used to power our household electronics is consumed when they're not even on! You can either unplug your devices yourself after use, or to make it even easier, invest in smart power strips which automatically shut off power to electronics when they are not in use. There are several ways you can adjust their settings. Learn more about smart power strips here.
Reduce Hot Water Expenses
One of the largest contributors to household energy consumption is your hot water heating. While taking shorter showers is one easy fix, there are also a few other ways to conserve on your utilities without simply cutting your shower time. Hot water heaters have an adjustment knob on them which lets you select your hot water temperature. Chances are, you can easily turn that down without compromising hot showers and baths! Turn down the temperature on your water heater and invest in some insulation for the heater and the first six feet of pipe to save even more energy. Finally, if you're looking to upgrade, a tankless water heater is a great investment for a small family or single folks, while larger families will want to invest in an energy efficient water heater that will last 10-15 years for maximum energy savings over time. Also, when you are traveling or out of town, make sure to turn it off! Even when not in use, hot water heaters use valuable energy. And since we are talking about water, while we are at it, make sure you wash most of your clothes in cold water instead of hot!
Window Shades Are For More Than Decoration!
While you will undoubtedly choose window curtains based on your own style and taste, there are some energy-saving aspects to consider as well! Installing light-colored curtains allows sunlight to enter your home and brighten the space without inviting too much heat in the summer. Closing those shades during the day in the warmer months will keep your home cooler and allow you to use less energy on the air conditioner. In the winter, leave those shades open so that daytime sun can warm your home instead. If you have north facing windows, close those shades to block warm air from escaping your home. At night, shades should be closed to insulate windows and keep warm air inside. Speaking of shades, lighter lampshades will help you light your rooms with fewer bulbs, too!
Another home decorating hack that just might save you (and the environment) some valuable energy? Use area rugs to warm up tile and wood floors, save on energy and help insulate your home! With these simple hacks you can transform daylight saving time into money saving time!
One of the easiest ways to help the environment is to use reusable grocery bags every time you shop. Remember, Toolaloo lets you carry, store and use all those environmentally-friendly grocery bags with ease, while also helping you carry up to 75 pounds. Get yours on our website here or on Amazon here. We ship free within the United States!