Clean Living Series #1: Reducing Your Electricity Consumption

Reducing your daily electricity consumption not only helps reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere, but it also lowers your electric utility bill. There are many simple habits you can adopt to start saving today! Here are our tips for taking control of your electricity usage inside of your home. 

What uses electricity in my home?

Lighting and electronics are typically the first things that come to mind when thinking about cutting down on electricity. However, these two categories actually make up a smaller portion of the overall electric consumption of your home. The cooling and heating system in your home accounts for the largest portion of your electricity usage. The next biggest electricity consumer is your water heater, followed by large home appliances, and lastly lighting and electronics.

Cooling/Heating System

If you are lucky enough to live in a place that has perfect weather all year round then you are already ahead of the game. However, weather around the country varies in most places and is becoming more extreme due to climate change. It is important to feel comfortable in your own home and temperature plays a big part in that. Many of us probably have thermostats that we keep on all year round set to a temperature between 65º – 75º. Although the auto mode on a thermostat prevents your AC or heater from running constantly, keeping it on still uses electricity. When was the last time you completely turned off your thermostat?

Here are our tips for reducing your consumption from your cooling and heating systems.

  • Invest in a smart thermostat. Instead of keeping your thermostat at an idling temperature all the time, a smart thermostat will completely turn off when you are away from the home and can be scheduled for specific times when it should be on.
  • Service your air conditioning and furnace regularly or at least replace your air filters. Keeping your system clean and running efficiently will reduce any extra energy expended to bypass clogged airways.
  • Use alternative systems. On hot days, close your curtains to keep the sun out, open windows and use ceiling fans to generate airflow. In the winter, open your curtains during the day to let the sunlight in and weatherize your home to keep the cracks insulated.

Water Heating

Hot water is expensive! Your hot water heater is run by either electricity or gas, both of which contribute to carbon emissions. The top five most common home appliances that use hot water are the bathroom sink and shower, the kitchen sink and dishwasher, and the washing machine. How many appliances are in your home that use hot water? Let’s walk through each of these to see how we can reduce hot water usage and therefore reduce our carbon emissions. 

  • In the bathroom, aim to take shorter or cooler showers and remember to turn off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • In the kitchen, use cold water when rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Only run the dishwasher when it’s at full capacity. You can even skip the heat-dry setting on the dishwasher. 
  • As for the washing machine, also only do full loads of laundry and run the washer with cold water when you can. A bonus is to hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer.

Appliances

Your refrigerator, freezer, oven, stove, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer make up the typical large appliances found in the home that use the most electricity. In the kitchen, you can maximize fridge and freezer efficiency by keeping it clean on the inside and outside in order to maintain proper conductivity and airflow. You can reduce the electricity load from the stove and ovens by opting to use a smaller appliance such as a toaster oven or microwave. As previously mentioned, only wash full loads of dishes and laundry. Turn off the heat-dry setting on the dishwasher, wash clothes with cold water and use drying racks when possible.

Lighting

Lighting can use a significant amount of electricity if they are left on all day. It can be hard to remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room, but try to turn off all the lights when you leave the house and when you go to sleep. Open the window blinds and use natural light during the day. And lastly, change your lights to LED bulbs to reduce consumption. LEDs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs because diode light is much more efficient, power-wise, than filament light. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting

Electronics

If you’re like us, you have a lot of electronics and many of them are plugged in all the time. Lucky these electronics make up a small portion of your electricity consumption, but you can still take action to reduce emissions from these devices. The easiest solution is to unplug devices that you don’t use on a daily basis, such as the printer. Other ways to help are to reduce screen brightness and only charge devices when they are out of battery.

Let us know if you tried any of these tips or share some of yours with us by tagging @Act_Neutral

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