In the U.S. the average household spends more than $1,368 each year on water, gas, and electricity
- Despite high energy costs, home appliances left on standby account for a staggering 35% of all home electricity consumption
- According to Business Insider, Americans waste an average of 283 KW hours of electricity every month
Saving Energy Today is About Surviving High Energy Costs Tomorrow
Energy costs in the developed world are expected to increase by 3% per year until 2020. More shockingly, energy costs for most domestic households have already risen by 72% over the past decade.
Because of rising energy prices, looking at how to save energy today isn’t just about helping people live cleaner, greener lives. Increasing energy production costs mean that focusing on energy efficiency today, can help homeowners significantly cut future power bills.
Save Energy at Home Instantly | 3 Simple Tricks Anyone Can Do
In recent years, energy efficiency has become synonymous with must-have consumer tech devices like smart meters. Did you know, though, that you can start reducing your energy costs, simply by changing your behavior?
- Not programming home thermostats can wast up to $180 per year in gas and electricity
- Not changing air conditioning filters can waste hundreds of dollars per year, as AC systems are forced to work harder
- On average, people spend 10-hours per year staring at open refrigerators
- Appliances left on standby use between 2W and 10W of electricity per hour
Most energy wastage in the home is entirely preventable. Of course, altering how we behave can be difficult. However, programming a home thermostat only needs to be done once. In like regard, always-on home appliances can easily be plugged into power strips. In this way, homeowners just have to get into the habit of unplugging one socket from the wall in the evening or flipping a switch on the power strip.
Estimated Energy Efficiency Savings: $200 – $300 per year.
Water Energy Efficiency
According to Business Insider, the average American household wastes 2,500 gallons of water each month. This is equivocal to 83 baths. To make matters worse, 2,500 gallons is more potable water than that used by some villages in developing countries.
Water is the most precious resource on Earth. Sadly, in developed countries, water is almost entirely taken for granted. The good news, though, is that water consumption can be significantly reduced with relative ease.
Save Energy & Water While Washing and Bathing
Taps left running, and non-efficient faucets are one of the chief causes of water wastage.
- A 10-15 minute shower will use up to 50L of water
- Taps left running while people brush their teeth can waste 25L of water over any 3-minute brushing period
- Dishwashers and washing machines use 6 – 45 gallons of water per cycle
Because we take water for granted, showering and brushing teeth twice a day can see the average person waste over 75L of water without thinking. Thankfully, water efficient shower heads and faucets can cut water wastage by up to two thirds. At the same time, reducing hot water consumption by limiting flow, can lead to significant home energy savings.
Energy Efficiency & Water Purification and Flushing Systems
The idea of wasting 75L of water per day will seem shocking to most people. However, most people actually waste even more. Toilet flushes alone require 6-13L of water. Meanwhile, powered water filters and purifiers waste up to 20% of all water drawn from the mains.
Thankfully, by investing in modern flush systems and charcoal filter rather than powered water purifiers, associated water consumption can be significantly reduced. At the same time, investing in drip garden irrigation systems (as opposed to garden hoses and sprinklers) can cut water and power consumption even further.
How to Save Energy When Heating & Cooling a Property
In the West, home heating and cooling costs vary considerably. Many homes in Canada need to be heated year-round. Conversely, homes in places like California and southern Europe, only require heating for a few months during winter. In every case, though, homeowners can realize considerable energy savings. Specifically, by focusing on home insulation.
Why Home Insulation is Important
When we think of insulation, we often think of interior loft and wall cavity insulation. However, better insulating a property doesn’t start and end with just loft and wall space insulation.
Drafts caused by unsealed doors and windows can cause home heating and cooling bills to fluctuate considerably. In like regard, hot water tanks and hot water plumbing systems which aren’t properly insulated, can lead to significant energy wastage.
Could You Benefit From Better Insulation?
Insulation helps keep heat inside a property. However, insulation can also be used to keep properties cooler in hotter climates. A simple investment in caulk window sealant can, therefore, pay dividends. At the same time, regularly changing HVAC air filters and properly maintaining devices, can also help realize cost savings.
- Annual servicing of HVAC and other systems can reduce future maintenance costs and increase energy efficiency
- The U.S. Department of Energy has found that homeowners can save up to 35% in energy costs, by merely replacing air filters every 90-days and worn out HVAC parts once a year
- Better home insulation and airflow allows HVAC systems to provide adequate heating and cooling at lower power levels
How to Save Energy by Generating Your Own Electricity
Worldwide, power grid centralization is the leading cause of energy wastage.
Even when electricity is generated from renewable sources like wind farms, power still has to be transmitted across vast distances. One way to cut costs and start living more sustainably is, therefore, to go off-grid.
The Costs & Practicalities of Off-Grid Living
Going off-grid requires generating power at home using the likes of solar arrays. These systems can be expensive. (At least initially.) However, the benefits are simple.
- Contrary to popular belief, solar power works everywhere. (Even in colder climates)
- Adding solar systems to a property is initially expensive but can increase property values by up to $15,000
- Homes which go off-grid can significantly reduce (and in some cases eliminate) their dependency on utility companies
As already stated, one problem with going off-grid concerns the initial expense of doing so. The average American household would need to invest approximately $25,000-$35,000 in a solar array capable of adequately powering a property. However, there is good news.
Energy Efficiency Incentives Offered by Power Companies
In the United States and Europe, many power companies offer incentives to homeowners who go off-grid.
- In the United States, some power companies will subsidize up to 50% of the cost of any new solar system installation
- In the United States and Europe, power companies will often offer to buy surplus power generated, provided that systems are connected to the main power grid
- Some States and regional governments offer tax rebates of up to to 30% to homeowners who do invest in home solar energy systems
Incentives and increased property values make going solar a lot more practical than you might think. Also, the initial set up cost of an off-grid power system can be reduced by lowering overall energy consumption.
Use Solar Energy to Heat Water & Power Electrical Appliances
Are you considering going solar? If so, but the costs in your area are still too prohibitive, there is an alternative solution.
Portable solar charges for popular consumer electronics can be bought relatively cheaply online. These allow users to charge power banks which can later be used to charge most smartphones and similar gadgets. At the same time, some home solar systems can be used to heat home hot water only. Either this or used to power specific home appliances.
Energy Saving Ideas Anyone Can Implement
Energy saving tips for your home start and end with taking the initiative.
If you haven’t done so already, simply replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs, can save an average of $0.17 to $5 per year. In like regard, simple changes to your routine like using lids when cooking and not cooking while heating or cooling a home can increase energy efficiency.
Other easy energy saving ideas can include:
- Adding timers and/or motion detectors to home lighting systems
- Using newer, more energy efficient home appliances
- Remembering to unplug portable electronics after they are fully charged
- Installing a power meter or smart meter which can monitor minute to minute power consumption in a property
- Disable automatic drying of dishes in dishwashers
- Consider using cold rather than hot laundry washes
Every small home energy saving initiative which you implement can result in significant savings. In fact, just using a power strip (which is turned off when not in use), could save $100 per year. The only question is, are you ready to start saving?