How to Save Energy During a Pandemic
Suneel Gupta, Senior Director of Energy & Sustainability at FirstService Residential, suggests that while keeping all energy sources low during a time of uncertainties may seem ideal, homeowners should not entirely sacrifice comfort for cost. “You can look for ways to save on energy, but altering consumption behavior entirely can limit your comfort.” Be responsible by knowing how your energy bill is made up, and then consider what is worth saving and what you can cut back on in respect to your energy consumption.
Below are eight easy and insightful ways to conserve energy inside your home, resulting in a lower bill during any pandemic:
1. If you can open curtains or blinds in your home office or as you lounge around the house, give the lights in your home a break. While this may seem like an obvious tip, many people continue using direct sunlight and their home lights throughout the day. During the summertime, you can either open up a window or switch back and forth if it becomes too warm. Do not forget to turn off the lights once you leave any room, especially if you leave your home entirely.
2. LED lights have an average lifespan six times longer than standard bulbs, and there are many variations that you can use around your home. They are also up to 80% more efficient and require less energy to emit light. Along with their efficiency, they produce increased light output than a standard bulb. That means you will be getter more brightness and longevity while keeping costs low.
3. Since appliances are one of the most massive consumptions of power in your home, using up to 35% of energy, utilize your appliances in the most effective ways you can. If you are going to use your dishwasher, use it after dinner when all the dirty dishes are used. If you do not own a dishwasher, do not let the water run as you wash your dishes by hand. Clean your dishes and then turn the water on to rinse them off.
4. Washing your laundry in cold water is a tip that not many residents know, since it may be assumed that all water is the same. However, you can save energy and money by using cold water during washing and rinsing. This could save an average of $14 a month per unit. There are even laundry detergents you can purchase that are made specifically for cold water washing.
5. Like a dishwasher, you should be making the most usage out of your washing and drying cycles. This will differ depending on how many family members there are. If you do not have a washer or dryer in your home, ensure that you abide by social distancing measures. This means maintaining a six-foot distance from others, wearing disposable gloves, and ensuring the cleanliness and disinfecting of the machines, your hands, and your laundry basket. Do not forget to fold your laundry in your own home!
6. Keep a close eye on your refrigerator. If you know what you want to get from the fridge, you are quickly saving more energy than if you were to open the door and think about what you wish to as the cold air escapes. Further, find the right balance between keeping your fridge full but not to the point of overcrowding it with leftovers and other produce. This is because a full refrigerator can run more efficiently, but if it becomes too full, you may block the cooling ventilation, cause it to jam, and create a whole new problem for yourself. Lastly, ensure your refrigerator is ENERGY STAR rated as it will use 40% less energy than an older one. If that is not a feasible purchase for you during this time, continue practicing the other tips to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
7. During the warm weather seasons, it will be easy to reach for the fan while blasting the air conditioner all day long. However, it would be best if you settled on a temperature that balances both your comfort and the energy costs. If you set your thermostat too high every day, your energy bills are sure to increase. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home. If you lower your temperature to this degree, you can continue to keep your home cool by installing ceiling fans, circulating air quickly, and maintaining blinds closed if possible.
8. Ensure the insulation in your home is installed correctly. You can save energy and money by increasing the insulation in different areas of your home, and your walls and floors. This will help keep your home cooler, especially in the summer. The attic and basement are good places to start because these areas represent at least 15% of your home’s overall cooling losses. Making the upgrades for your insulation levels is perhaps one of the smartest energy-saving investments you can make.
Remember that these are energy-saving tips for all across your home. Choose what you believe is most important for you to keep, so it does not take away from your comfort, and what tips you can use to be more efficient in your everyday life. You can start small and see the difference it makes for your energy bill.