The energy market has not been kind to Americans over the last decade or so, with average electricity prices increasing by around 2.5 percent per year since 2000, except in 2002 and 2016 when they dropped.
That makes it one of the nations primary cost-of-living concerns with more and more people wondering what they can do to reduce their energy consumption, not just for the good of their bank accounts, but also the good of the planet.
There are plenty of relatively simple ways you can start making a dent in what you are handing over for energy each year – here are four of them for starters.
Purchase energy efficient appliances and unplug them when they aren’t in use
When you are purchasing a new appliance, check to make sure that it is an Energy Star qualified appliance. If it is, it will feature a yellow EnergyGuide label and you’ll know you are getting a product that it is going to be good for energy consumption. Other factors to consider when it comes to specific appliances are that hydrocarbon refrigerators such as models using butane or pentane are more energy-efficient and as for washing machines, front-loaders use less power, water and detergent. You should also unplug all appliances when they aren’t in use – your television, computer and microwave will have standby modes which means they continue to use energy even when they are not actually in use.
Consider how you use your air conditioning unit and if it is working efficiently
If you’ve got an air conditioning unit, try and use it on only the hottest days. If you know a hot or humid day is coming, then turn it on in advance so it is already keeping your house cool at a steady temperature rather than being asked to turn the whole place cold once it is already unbearably hot. If you’ve got a programable timer and thermostat control, then set your unit to the highest temperature setting at which you still feel cool, normally around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Each increase in thermostat settings can save you about 10 perfect of your energy bill a year. Finally, if you have any doubts about the efficiency of your unit then get an engineer with a HVAC Certification to take a look at it.
Collect rainwater to reduce your water bill
Away from electricity, how is your water bill looking? By collecting rain water in your back yard, you are storing up a source of free water for watering the garden and even washing the car, presuming its clean and relatively fresh water. It’s relatively easy to do as well – you can either buy a proper water buck or ask a local brewery if they have any free barrels going which you simply cut a hole in the top of and place in your yard.
Ditch the car if there is an alternative way of getting somewhere
Gas for the car counts as part of your energy bill, and you’re probably spending a lot on that as well. If you can walk or take public transport to a destination, then do so. Not only will you be saving money and the planet, but you’ll be getting some great exercise too.