It’s no secret that Westerners consume the most energy worldwide. Whether we’re heating or cooling our homes, running a host of electronics, or keeping our lights on as we work late into the night, we draw electricity at an alarming rate. And while you may have gotten used to paying outrageously high utility bills (so that the sight of a three-figure charge doesn’t even phase you anymore), you probably wouldn’t be sorry to see a dip in your monthly payment.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can decrease your energy consumption and cut back on your utility bills. Here are a few simple ones you may want to try.
1. Reset the thermostat. The best way to cut back on energy consumption is to temper the temperature of your home. We’d all like to live in 74 degrees all the time, but with climate fluctuations, it may cost you a lot to keep your home at the optimum temperature. So when winter weather strikes, keep the thermostat low and layer on a sweater for warmth. And when the thermometer starts going up, open windows to get a breeze or in extremes, keep curtains and windows shut to insulate against the heat.
2. Use natural light. Take a tip from your parents’ playbook and turn off the lights when you leave a room. In fact, try not to turn them on at all during the day. Use natural light as much as possible. And for those times when you must flip the switch: install CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs) or LEDs (light emitting diodes) instead of regular incandescent bulbs. They not only use a fraction of the energy required for the latter, they also last a lot longer (saving you money on two fronts).
3. Stop phantom drain. You may not realize it, but your electronics suck up a modicum of energy whether they are powered on or not. Try hooking your devices up to easily accessible power strips that can be unplugged before you leave the house. You’ll be surprised by how much you save on your bill in the course of a month. Also, be sure to unplug charging devices when they’re full; it will not only cut your utility bill, it will also extend your battery life.
4. Get with the (Energy-Star) program. If your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, or other appliances have been around longer than you, it’s time to replace them with energy-saving alternatives. The initial expense may be high, but you can often get rebates or tax breaks for buying energy-star and you’ll earn back some of that money each month through a lowered utility bill.
5. Find alternatives. If you really get gung-ho about saving electricity, you can go even further by opting for alternative sources of energy. If you live in a region that enjoys abundant sunlight, wind, or has a nearby source of flowing water or geothermal activity, you may be able to harness it for energy. By installing the proper equipment, you can use this energy to power your home for free (and sell the extra back to the power grid).
Leon Harris writes for Southern States, the quality name in high voltage switching. Whether you are in need of a circuit switcher, power fuses, or electrical power transmission and distribution needs, Southern States will tailor a custom solution for you.