Sometimes being “Green” can seem time consuming and expensive, especially when there are items like eco-friendly flip-flops being sold for $18,000. Thankfully, helping the environment doesn’t have to mean emptying your wallet.
By making small changes in our daily lives we can significantly cut down on the energy we use in our homes every day. This goes on to help maintain a sustainable environment, as well as putting a few extra dollars in our bank accounts.
Check out these 7 tips for saving energy that can also save your budget.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
If you are like me and can never be bothered to separate your clothes before washing them, you may utilize this tip already. But now we can say, “I’m not lazy, I’m helping the environment!”
According to the Alliance to Save Energy, doing laundry with hot water is one of the largest energy drainers in an average home. Heating water takes up about 86% of a washer’s total energy consumption. By washing your clothes in cold water, the average household can eliminate around 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Cold-washing is not only good for the environment, but it’s doing your wallet a lot of favors too. Every year, you can save about $115 by washing your clothes in cold water. Bonus, a rogue red sock will never ruin your favorite white t-shirt again.
There are even special detergents for cold-water washing. The Alliance to Save Energy says that heat produced by your washer is only one of three main ingredients that go into making your clothes clean, the other two are chemicals. So, if you improve one ingredient you can take another away, like energy-sucking heat. These special soaps are not necessary though, your clothes will still get clean using your regular detergent on the cold-water cycle.
Use Your Ceiling Fans Properly
Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Don’t leave your ceiling fans on during the day, because it won’t keep down the temperature in your home. In fact, this practice actually wastes energy and adds to your electric bill.
That undeniably satisfying feeling of sitting under a whirling fan simply comes from the quick circulation of air already in the room. When all that air moves around a contained space we feel a refreshing little breeze, even though the air has not changed temperature at all. So, while you may enjoy your ceiling fan, the rest of the room doesn’t really know the difference.
When you use a ceiling fan, you can raise your thermostat to 74°F and still feel just as comfortable as if it were set on 70°F. But make sure to turn your fan off when you leave the room to save even more energy and cash.
Move Electronics Away from Your AC Thermostat
You can possibly reduce your energy bill by moving your electronics to a different spot.
If you have a lamp or a TV set close to your thermostat, the sensor will catch the heat radiating off those items instead of the temperature of the air in the room. In the summer, this will cause your air conditioning to kick on sooner and stay running longer than you want.
Instead, try angling your lamps and TV set under your AC vent, this way when the air conditioning does come on, it will be blowing on your electronics and cooling them down in the process. This goes for other electronics that radiate lots of heat too, like gaming systems and computers.
If you ever feel like you’re in an igloo but your thermostat reads 70°F, take a look around the room at where your electronics are stationed. It might just take a mini-makeover in order to significantly reduce your electric bill, and save some energy in the process.
Air Dry Clothes and Dishes
Just like your washer uses an exuberant amount of heat to wash your clothes, it takes even more heat to dry them, especially if you always set your dryer on the longest possible setting.
Hang shirts and other clothing that you don’t plan on wearing for at least another day or so, that way there is no rush in drying them.
By picking and choosing what goes into the dryer, we can reduce the size of our loads and run the dryer for a shorter time, all while saving money and energy.
You can use the same system when drying your dishes. Save larger items, like pots and pans, for hand-washing and set them out to dry or wipe them down yourself with a dishtowel. The heat from the dishwasher can actually harm your cookware, so it is better to hand wash and dry them anyway.
Use the Microwave
Developed after World War II using radar technology developed during the war, the microwave was all the rage when it first came out in 1946. Although they may not seem as high-tech to us now, the microwave is still an energy efficient tool we all should take advantage of.
When you can, use your microwave instead of your stovetop of conventional oven. Your food will be heated up faster and you will use less energy.
Also, the microwave can help you retain some of the nutrients in your food. Some nutrients, like Vitamin C, easily break down when they are exposed to heat. Since using the microwave takes less time than a stovetop or conventional oven, food is exposed to less heat when cooked in this device. This means that more of the nutrients will remain intact so it can go on to fuel your body instead of being zapped into nothing.
Be a Star
Certain products are certified with the government-backed symbol, “ENERGY STAR,” meaning they use significantly less energy than other products just like them. Homes, buildings, and plants can even be granted an ENERGY STAR certification.
Amongst others, there are clothing washers and dryers, televisions, telephones, computers, and even windows that are ENERGY STAR certified. In 2015, ENERGY STAR helped American families and businesses save 503 billion kWh of energy.
If the energy efficiency isn’t enough to entice you, they also helped those families and businesses save a total of $34 billion on their energy bills.
You don’t have to have the wallet of a celebrity in order to be eco-friendly. If everybody starts by making small changes in things they do every day, we can all enjoy the big results that will follow.