[Today’s guest post is by Ivy Delfin from Save Central]
Those who are fortunate enough to build a home from scratch and have money to spare have the luxury of creating a home that is climate change proof. There are things they can afford that many cannot—insulation that prevents heat from escaping or coming in; enough windows to keep the place full of light; solar heating, cooling and solar panels that power the whole house; not to mention a water tank that collects rainwater. All these things create the ideal, almost self-sufficient dream home. Unfortunately not everyone can afford to completely remodel their whole home, and as the trend goes these days, not many people even own their own home. With this in mind, all we can now do from this point is learn how to change our habits in a way that uses less energy and creates a more thoughtful use of our resources.
Going room by room we have a few examples of what you can do to reduce your energy usage, and with it, your bills. There are enough things you cannot control with your energy bills, so you don’t want to waste even more by being irresponsible.
Bathroom and laundry
Take 4-minute showers and buy a water saving shower head to replace your old one that uses a lot of water. When doing your laundry, only do a load when the washer is full and use cold water as the hot water uses energy to heat the water. Also, consider wearing clothes more than once if they are not dirty, thereby decreasing how often you wash your clothes.
Living areas and bedroom
If you are purchasing a new TV, an LCD TV uses less energy than a plasma screen. Also, make sure all your appliances are turned off at the wall rather than just the unit itself. This can be done by purchasing a surge protector with an on/off switch. Appliances and devices on standby still use electricity and can make up as much as 10% of your monthly bill. If you are in the market to buy a new computer, consider a laptop as they use less energy, and choose appliances that have a 4-5 star energy rating.
Instead of using the heater in the winter, grab a blanket or wear pants and a sweatshirt. During the summer, if it’s hot, try using a fan instead of the air conditioner.* You can also install thick curtains to insulate the room. Use fluorescent bulbs to save energy and turn off lights when you are not in the room.
Set you fridge temperature between 38-40 degrees and when preparing meals, cook more than necessary so you have leftovers. Once it’s time to clean up use your dishwasher once it’s full. If you have a high star rating, your dishwasher will actually be quite energy-efficient.
There are many ways to make your home energy-efficient without spending any money. Try some of these options out and see what it can do for you.
[Ivy Delfin works in marketing for Save Central, an Australia-based company, where she promotes ways to help your home or business become more economical. You can visit their site for more information.**]
*Having lived in a European country where residential air conditioning doesn’t exist, we Americans are sissies about it. You don’t have to go European, but I’m sure we can all toughen up a bit.
**I’ve checked out their site and it’s pretty awesome. Anyone know of a similar site in North America?