Many of us want to be more energy-efficient. Whether you want to because you try to help save the planet, save money on your electricity bill or both, being more energy efficient has many benefits. If you clicked on this article you probably want to save energy, but don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are many easy ways to save energy that you could implement TODAY. Some you might already do, while others are new to you. While going through this article, please remember that every little change helps. No matter how small and insignificant they might look at first, their impact will show over time.
1. Use a water descaler
Using a water descaler will reduce the effects of hard water like scale buildup on your plumbing and appliances, dry skin and hair and stained bathtubs. A water descaler is not the same thing as a water softener like most people assume. Water softeners are meant to change the chemical composition of the water, whereas a water descaler reduces the effects of the suspended minerals found in water.
A water descaler will help you live more sustainably for several reasons. For example, by reducing the scale buildup in your plumbing and appliances, this device extends their lives. Another reason your water descaler is considered sustainable is that it can descale your current systems. This means that there’s no need to replace what you already have, which in turn means you won’t be adding to the demand for materials for said systems. A different big advantage can be found in the health aspect of your water. Because the descaler only targets the suspended minerals in the water, it won’t interfere with the quality of the water. Aside from that, there are no dangerous chemicals involved in using a water descaler, so you can use the water as drinking water.
2. Use the right insulation
Insulating your home properly is beneficial to both the environment and your wallet, especially long term. On average, around 54% of yearly home utility bills consist of heating and cooling costs. But what if you could simply reduce these costs by reducing your heat loss? By insulating your walls with the right materials you can reduce heat loss by up to 67%. If you also insulate your attic, you can prevent up to another 40% of heat loss.
There are 4 common types of insulation: spray foam insulation, fibreglass insulation, mineral wool insulation and cellulose insulation. The type of insulation that’s most effective for your home depends on the we3ather conditions outside. All 4 types have their own pro’s and cons, so it’s advised to consult a local company to help you choose the right insulation materials for your home.
3. Use solar panels if you have the funds.
We all know that solar panels are an expensive investment. Even though they pay themselves back over time, not everyone has the money to afford the initial cost. Luckily, more and more governments of several countries are concerned with the environmental crisis we are facing. Because of this, some governments distribute funds to aid people who want to make their homes more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Contact your local municipality to get informed about the options available for you.
That being said, the reason solar panels are more environmentally friendly than traditional electricity is fairly simple: Solar energy doesn’t produce any waste, like electricity won from oil and coal would. It’s also much more sustainable for the future because it doesn’t rely on raw materials that we’ll eventually run out of.
4. Unplug battery chargers or use battery chargers that turn themselves off:
When your device has finished charging, it will NOT automatically cut off the power supply if the device is plugged in. This causes damage to your device’s battery and reduces its lifespan significantly. By investing in a battery charger that turns itself off, or setting reminders for yourself to unplug your devices, your devices will last longer and are therefore much more sustainable.
5. Take shorter or (partially) cold showers, or turn the water pressure a little lower.
How taking a shorter shower impacts your water usage speaks for itself. But have you thought about how much energy you can save by taking shorter, colder or less powerful showers? It’s not just the water itself that gets wasted by taking an unnecessarily long shower. The water you use needs to be heated and there is a constant amount of water pressure that needs to be maintained for every second you are showering. By simply reducing your time in the shower you can already make a significant difference. If you want to take it a step further, bringing down the temperature and water pressure is the way to go!
6. Use electric cooking (preferably in combination with solar panels)
By reducing the amount of gas you use while cooking, you are less reliant on fossil fuels that are polluting our planet. Especially if you generate your own electricity by using solar panels, switching to electric cooking will save you a significant amount of money yearly.
7. Use infra-red heating (preferably in combination with solar panels)
The use of infra-red heating, or an IR panel, has many advantages. The most important ones in terms of sustainability are that it takes less energy than a traditional radiator as well as that it needs no maintenance because there are no moving parts inside the panels.
8. Turn off power strips or use advanced power strips like this one:
9. Turn off lights when you are not in the room or use an automatic light sensor.
If you are not in the room, there is simply no need to have the lights turned on. By turning the lights off if you are leaving the room for more than just one minute, you can save a lot of electricity and therefore money.
10. Fill up the dishwasher as much as possible.
By filling up the dishwasher to full capacity you reduce the number of times you have to run it. There is no need to run the dishwasher every day if you have enough clean cutlery and plates in your kitchen. By putting off running it until it is stacked to full capacity, you get more clean dishes for the same amount of water, electricity and time as you usually would.
11. Grow your own food with a vegetable garden.
Just imagine the journey of a simple carrot. Think about how much pesticides are needed to keep it safe while it’s growing. With the number of crops, a farmer has to look after, pesticides are the only way to keep them all protected. If you grow your own food at home, you have a much smaller field to protect, meaning it’s much easier to protect your food without resorting to pesticides.
Now think about how much gas is needed to transport a storebought carrot from the farm to the packaging factory, store, and house. If you grow your own food, all of the gas need for transportation is cut out of the equation.
12. Eat less meat.
Meat is one of the most harmful products to the environment due to the number of greenhouse gasses that are released during the production process. By consuming less meat, or even no meat at all, you contribute to lowering the demand for meat. If there’s less demand, production can be downscaled which results in fewer greenhouse gasses being released.
13. Use your window shades.
This one is pretty straightforward. If you use your window shades to keep the sun and warmth out before it gets too hot inside, you won’t need to use an air conditioning system as much, or you could at least use a less intense setting.
14. Don’t throw away left-over foods. Put them in a container.
I’m positive this scenario happened to pretty much everyone: you intended to cook pasta for one, but you accidentally made enough for your entire neighbourhood. This results in many people throwing out perfectly good food. If you put leftover food in a storage container and put it in the fridge or freeze it, you can easily eat it another day. This will save time, money and the environment.
15. Clean the dryer from dryer lint before every use.
Not only will this lengthen the lifespan of your dryer, but it might also save your life. If you don’t clean out the dryer lint before every use, it will lead to the airflow being restricted. Not only does this cause the drying efficiency to go down significantly, but it’s also a serious fire hazard. Dryer lint is highly combustible and the reduced airflow leads to more heat inside the machine.
16. Add aerators to your faucets.
An aerator is a small filter looking thing that you can put on the end of your faucet. It adds some air to the water which causes you to use less water while still experiencing the same amount of water pressure.
17. Turn off your water heater if you plan on leaving home for a few days.
Even if the water heater is not heating any water, it still takes some electricity to be on. If you leave home, there’s no need to have it turned on and waste electricity on it.
18. Do full loads of clothes in the washing machine.
This one is the same as for the dishwasher: if you load it up to full capacity, you won’t have to run it as often. And if you don’t have to run it as often, you use less water and electricity. Be sure not to exceed the maximum amount of weight your washer can handle though since this can be a fire hazard and shorten the lifespan of your washer.
19. Air-dry dishes
This is another straightforward one. You can just let the air do what a dishwasher would do, without the electricity those appliances need.
20. Air-dry clothes
Just like air-drying dishes, air-drying clothes will save you a tonne of electricity. It might take some more time, but your clothes will smell a lot fresher too. Especially if you have the opportunity to hang your laundry outside.
21. Use an automatic thermostat.
An automatic thermostat monitors the temperature of your home. This means that it will turn the heaters on automatically when they are needed, and turn them off when they’re not. This keeps your home at an enjoyable temperature, you don’t have to worry about the heaters, and it saves energy for every time you would have forgotten to turn it off.
22. Use low-flow faucets and showerheads.
By using low-flow faucets and showerheads you can save gallons of water every year, while you likely won’t even notice the difference in water flow yourself.
23. Use the right size burner when cooking.
It’s not about how the burner benefits the pan, but also about how the pan benefits the burner when cooking. A proper sized pan for your heater will use all the heat it provides. While a too-small pan lets most of the heat escape into thin air.
24. Toss a dry towel in the dryer with your clothes.
By doing this, you allow the towel to soak up some of the water from the clothes. This makes your clothes dry much faster, therefore saving energy as you don’t need to use the dryer for as long.
25. Unplug your second fridge.
Ask yourself: do you really need a second fridge in the first place? Probably not. If you think you do, you are most likely getting too many groceries in one go. Using your car to go to the grocery store an extra time a week will impact the environment a lot less than running a second fridge 24/7.
26. Skip the heat-dry setting for the dishwasher.
Personally, I don’t understand why dishwashers even need this setting, unless they are used in a restaurant that needs to re-use their plates multiple times a night. When your dishwasher is done, you can just open it and let the fresh air dry your dishes for you. That way you don’t have to use unnecessary electricity.
27. Use a dishwasher.
It saves you 5000 gallons of hot water per year. The electricity it costs to run the device in a year comes nowhere near these costs.
28. Open curtains facing the sun.
Similarly to closing the curtains to keep the warmth out in the summer, you can also open them to let the warmth in during the colder seasons. By letting your home warm up by sunlight, you can turn down your heater a notch.
29.Turn Use battery saving mode on your laptop and other devices.
By using the energy-saving mode on devices like your laptop or your smartphone, you can get more use out of the battery. You won’t even notice the difference when using your devices because the energy-saving mode only turns off processes that happen behind the scenes. Since your battery last longer, you won’t have to charge it as often. This in turn lengthens the lifespan of your device’s battery.
30. Keep plants in your home.
Plants are natural air purifiers. They supply clean air in your home without needing any form of electricity. This means you won’t need to use an electric air purifier, which in turn saves a lot of money and electricity. Aside from their function as air purifiers, plants are great to use for decor in your home. And if you’re willing to be extra sustainable: propagate plants you or your friends and family already have instead of buying new ones. Caring for plants might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, there are only upsides to having them.