Top Tips for Home Energy Challenges

Marie-Eve Savard

One of the most tangible ways we use energy in our daily lives is to heat, cool, light, and power our homes. Home energy use accounts for 34% of the average American’s carbon footprint. It would take 309 trees per person per year to absorb all those greenhouse gas emissions.

POWER DOWN: NO IDLE DEVICES

Your base load is the low-lying electricity your home uses continuously, 24/7, and is a prime culprit for wasteful energy use.

1: Use power strips & smart plugs.

Do you leave things plugged in during the day? Unplug your devices or use power strips to keep them turned off when not in use. You can also use a smart plug which is a type of wifi-enabled, plug-in electrical socket that allows you to control the devices attached to it from your phone. Use them with your highest-energy appliances to save energy. Read our Susty Review to know what to buy.

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2: Energy Star.

When it’s time to replace appliances, look for ENERGY STAR appliances, which meet government standards to use less energy. The ENERGY STAR rating doesn’t just apply to dishwashers and refrigerators but also to other appliances such as TVs, laptops, printers, and cable boxes.

3: Bright ideas.

It’s not just about turning your lights off, it’s about turning on the right light. Swap out your 5 most used bulbs for LEDs to save $45 per year and reduce your emissions by 1%.

4: Use the microwave or toaster oven.

Instead of the oven or stove when possible. Microwaves use less energy and time than the stovetop or oven. Not keen on nuking your food? A small toaster oven can work just as well as a large oven but save all the energy required to heat the larger space.

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ADJUST THE THERMOSTAT: DON'T SWEAT IT

Heating and cooling – both air and water – are the most energy-intensive actions we take in our homes. For every degree less heating and cooling you use, the US Department of Energy estimates that you save approximately 1% on your home energy usage.

A few simple fixes around the house can make it a breeze to turn down the thermostat:

1: Get smart.

Smart Thermostats, like Google Nest and Ecobee, help reduce heating and cooling by adjusting for different times of day. Google estimates a Google Nest user saves $130-145 each year.

2: Don’t put furniture in front of vents.

This can block or redirect air where you don’t need it, like the area behind or under your couch.

3: Lay down rugs on bare floors add insulation in the winter.

Take them up during the summer to help keep cooler. Not only will you reduce your bill, but your place just might look a bit jazzier, too!

4: Hang light-colored curtains or blinds.

Keep the heat out during hot summer days with light window coverings that reflect the sun. In the winter, be sure to keep the coverings open during the day to warm your home.

5: Roll up a towel.

Push it against a door or window sill that doesn’t close tightly. This will keep air from leaking in or out and save unnecessary costs on your heating and cooling.

6: Wear a sweater (and socks!).

While it takes a lot of people to impact global temperature rise, you have the power to manage your home climate all on your own. The lowest-tech solution is a good ol’ wooly sweater and socks.

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