The world’s energy consumption is at an all-time high and its time to cut down
May 27, 2019
6 Min Read
The U.S. only comes second, behind China, in gross annual electricity consumption by country. We rely on electricity to run almost everything in our homes. From water heaters to light bulbs and air conditioners, all these things need electricity. The result can be an increasingly costly electricity bill for you every month if you are responsible for utility costs.
Do your research
Start by finding out which particular company supplies your electricity and get in contact with them. Ask about any available discounts. Usually, you can receive help with your bill year-round if you are in a low-income household, on disability, or have a limited income for other reasons.
You could also take part in your electric company’s voluntary direct load control program (if one is available). These programs offer bill credits in exchange for allowing the electric company to install a switch on certain appliances, like your air conditioner or electric water heater. The switch can turn off or cycle the appliances for brief periods during peak demand times. This helps the company ensure reliable service and reduce pollution. In many states, you can choose your energy supplier, like you can choose your own cell phone company. There are comparison websites where you can see several options for lower electricity rates per kilowatt hour with many energy suppliers. Be sure to read the fine print as some contracts have hidden fees or have a rate spike after the end of the contract term. Do thorough research to find reputable companies to choose from.
Fix up around the house
A lot of your energy surpluses can be solved with quick home fixes such as:
Finding and sealing air leaks around your home. This is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. Any leaks through cracks around your doors, windows, ducts and light fixtures could increase your heating and cooling expenses. Sealing these leaks can reduce your energy costs by up to 30%. To do this you can apply caulk or weather stripping to the leaks and cracks
Your home’s insulation is very important in helping you lower your utility bills. Great insulation helps keep in heat during the winter and keep heat out of your home during the summer. You can have a contractor inspect your home’s insulation instead of doing it yourself, for a more thorough job
Keep your freezer and fridges packed. Food acts as insulation and lessens the amount of time that your fridge has to run to stay cool. If there isn’t a lot of food in your freezer and fridge, they will utilize more energy
Take advantage of off-peak rates. A lot of electric companies offer off-peak reduced rates that you can use to run your water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioner or any appliances that consume a lot of energy. If you plan to use any of these appliances, try to do so during off-peak hours like early in the morning or late at night
Cut down and unplug
When trying to save on electricity and utilities a lot of people tend to go off and buy a ton of energy-saving appliances. While this is always a good idea, you should start by adjusting your day-to-day behavior with electrical appliances in your home. This might seem simple enough, but things, like turning off a bulb when it’s not in use or switching off the air conditioning while you are out, are often overlooked.
For starters here a couple of things you should cut down on or unplug in your home:
Instead of using air conditioning all day, invest in fans. Fans make a room cooler while using less than a quarter of the energy that an air conditioner requires
Any electronics that are not in use should be unplugged immediately. Appliances that are plugged in keep using energy even when they are switched off. Forming habits as simple as turning lights off or unplugging lamps when you leave a room even briefly is key
Your water heater is another major culprit when it comes to energy consumption. Simply cutting down on the amount of hot water you use will go a long way in helping you save on electricity. Changing your shower head to a low-flow shower head is an easy way to make sure you use less hot water with each shower. You can also lower the amount of energy your heater consumes by setting your hot water heater to 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. To save more, you should also install an insulation jacket
Even when you are at home you don’t always have to make use of your electrical appliances. Opting for natural light from a window instead of turning a bulb on, or opening up a window for fresh air instead of turning the air conditioner on are great energy saving habits you should form. Reduce the number of loads you run through your washing machine each week. Air dry instead of using a dryer. Most of the energy consumed by your dishwasher goes to heating water. Turn off the heat dry feature, and you’ll minimize the drain. Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it, or better yet, do your dishes in the sink and then air dry them
Invest and replace
Comb through your home to find out which appliances are old, inefficient and are consuming too much power. Replacing and investing in energy-saving alternatives for as many of your electrical appliances as you can with will not only save you a lot of money on your electricity bills but save the planet too.
Replace your traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives. Halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use between 25-80% less electricity and last a lot longer than traditional bulbs. Even though they are more expensive, LED bulbs are your best bet. They last longer and don’t contain any mercury, unlike CFLs which contain trace amounts and makes it a little more difficult to dispose of when they burn out
Some electrical appliances when turned off or when put in standby mode continue to consume electricity. Buying smart power strips will help you avoid this by completely shutting off the power to electronics when they are not in use or in standby
Your heaters and air conditioners are responsible for a very large percentage of your daily power usage. Buying a smart thermostat which can be set to automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling during the times when you are asleep or away is a great way to help cut down their energy consumption
Switch to renewable energy options like solar panels to power your house instead of electricity
However, replacing appliances in a rented apartment can be tricky. With Blueground, renters have the opportunity to view apartments and amenities online before signing a lease. This will help you pick an apartment with modern energy saving appliances from the comfort of your couch. If you are already settled in a Blueground apartment that doesn’t meet your specific needs (proximity to work, amenities, number of bedrooms) you can modify your stay by moving to another apartment that is better suited to your taste.
What is using the most energy in your home?
Being aware of which electrical appliances are consuming the most energy, in your home will also help you make efficient energy saving plans. Especially if you live alone.
Cooling and heating: 47% of energy use
Water heater: 14% of energy use
Washer and dryer: 13% of energy use
Lighting: 12% of energy use
Refrigerator: 4% of energy use
Electric oven: 3-4% of energy use
TV, DVD, cable box: 3% of energy use
Dishwasher: 2% of energy use
Computer: 1% of energy use
Cutting down on your electricity consumption doesn’t just help you save money, it also means you are doing your own little part to save the planet. When you consume less power, you help decrease power plant emissions, conserve the earth’s natural resources and protect ecosystems and animals from destruction.