Anyone living in the 21st-century is familiar with the concepts of preserving, protecting, recycling, and reusing — especially when it comes to energy. Topics like reducing the need to burn fossil fuels and discovering humanity-changing advancements in areas like electric batteries, solar power, and wind turbines often take center stage in the energy conservation discussion.
But what about those who want to make a difference in their own small way? What can be done to conserve energy even in the midst of a global pandemic that has everyone cloistered away in their homes for weeks and months on end?
The answer: finding ways to naturally conserve energy right from the comfort of your own home.
Here are some of the best ways to reduce your energy usage without ever needing to invest in expensive solar panels or even flashy smart home appliances.
Reduce Your Need for Air Conditioning
One of the simplest ways to conserve energy in the summer is by reducing the need for excessive air conditioning. You can do this in many different ways, such as:
Setting your thermostat slightly higher than your ideal temperature.
Using fans when the heat isn’t too intense.
If you have a yard, planting privacy trees to help block the sun and cool your house naturally with shade.
Taking cold showers (this reduces the need for A/C and the need to heat the water).
Hanging dark curtains that can cut down on the sunlight heating your home.
With so many options, it’s easy to cut back on your A/C usage, save some energy, and be no worse for the wear.
Replace Lightbulbs with Alternatives
One of the classically affordable ways to dramatically reduce your energy consumption is by replacing your lightbulbs. You can purchase either Light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and you’ll end up using a lot less energy when you turn on the lights.
Seal Up Leaks and Drafts
Drafts can let hot air out in the winter and cold air out in the summer. Either way, you’re asking your heating and cooling systems to work overtime in order to keep your spaces at a reasonable climate.
If you’re looking for quick and easy ways to reduce your energy usage, consider getting calk and weatherstripping in order to block up any leaks on your windows and doors. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can even opt to blow or roll more insulation — or hire a professional to ensure it’s done correctly — into your attic in order to prevent excess energy from escaping through the roof.
Replace Windows Slowly
When you hear the idea of “replacing windows,” it can sound exorbitant and expensive. However, if you have single panel windows in your home, chances are they’re a major source of lost energy. Fortunately, you can use replacement windows to gradually, easily, and affordably fix the situation.
Measure a window or two at a time, starting with the worst culprits for leaks. Then order just those windows and replace them first. Over time, you can make a dramatic difference on your home’s energy efficiency.
Install a Smart Thermostat
While smart appliances may be pricey, smart thermostats aren’t. If you look for a sale, you can likely get a decent one for under $100. Not only that, but installing a smart thermostat is an excellent way to control your home’s use of energy on a daily, hourly, and even minute-by-minute basis.
A smart thermostat can change the temperature of your home temporarily if you’ll be gone for several hours and can even be adjusted remotely via a smartphone.
Consciously Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Finally, look for small ways that you can consciously reduce your energy consumption in your day-to-day activities. For instance, you can:
Unplug unused items and use energy trickle power strips to ensure that energy isn’t wasted when you don’t need it.
Hand wash your dishes to avoid using the dishwasher — consider using cold water to avoid using the water heater, too.
Change the filters on your appliances and have your furnace and A/C inspected regularly to keep them efficient and prolong their life.
Only cool or heat certain parts of your home in order to reduce the amount of space you’re maintaining — just don’t let any pipes freeze by leaving them unheated.
Small behaviors like these can quickly add up to a significant reduction in energy consumption.
Naturally Conserving Energy: The Home Edition
While there are many splashy, expensive ways to cut down on your energy usage, often the most effective options are simple, natural, and easy to execute right in your home. Whether you’re washing dishes by hand, adding insulation to your attic, sealing up a leak, replacing light bulbs, planting privacy trees, or anything else, it doesn’t take much to have an impact.
The important thing is that you take your home energy consumption seriously and decide to take steps to ameliorate the situation. Only then can you truly make a difference.