Top 10 energy conservation tips



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Energy conservation can be as simple as relying on sunlight to brighten up your home. Image source: Kingspan

Conserving energy seems like just another thing to add to your never-ending to-do list. But cutting down on your energy usage is much easier than it sounds. Something as easy as opening your curtains instead of turning on a light or changing your thermostat a few degrees will reduce your electricity consumption and your utility bill.

Changing your daily habits can be daunting, but don't worry; we're here to help. We've laid out the top 10 things you can do to conserve energy so you can start living greener (and cheaper!).

Energy conservation at a glance:

  • Energy conservation is the act of changing a habit to reduce the amount of energy you use.
  • You can practice energy conservation by relying more on natural light, using less hot water, turning up the temperature on your fridge, and making energy-efficient home upgrades.
  • Integrating energy conservation into your routine and installing solar panels can drastically reduce (or even eliminate!) your electricity bill.

On this page

    What’s the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency?

    It is important to recognize that energy conservation and energy efficiency are different methods to achieve the same goal - saving energy!

    Energy conservation is a form of energy management that takes place when you perform actions that lead to lower energy consumption. These actions include unplugging electronics when they’re not in use or turning a light off when you leave a room. 

    Energy efficiency involves the use of energy-saver technology that requires less energy to complete a task. For example, energy-efficient appliances use less energy to complete the same job. Look for the Energy Star label when shopping for new appliances to ensure it's an energy-efficient model.

    Though the two are different, energy efficiency helps achieve energy conservation. Energy-efficient products help make your home more sustainable overall since they use less energy to complete the same task as their non-energy-efficient counterparts.

    Learn more: 8 ways to transform your house into an energy-efficient home

    Find out if going solar is worth it where you live

    What are the top 10 ways to conserve energy?

    Adding energy conservation practices to your habits will reduce your total home energy usage, lower emissions, and save money in the process. Some of these habits are simple fixes requiring minimal effort, while others require a change in routine.

    The top 10 energy conservation techniques are:

    1. Rely on natural light
    2. Unplug appliances when not in use
    3. Use a smart thermostat
    4. Use less hot water
    5. Practice energy efficiency
    6. Change your lightbulbs
    7. Replace your windows
    8. Insulate your home
    9. Air-dry your clothes
    10. Turn your refrigerator temperature up

    What do these sustainability-centered updates look like, though? Let’s break them down.

    1. Embrace the sun and enjoy natural lighting 

    On sunny days, opening your curtains reduces the need for artificial light. Turning on the lights less is one of the easiest ways to conserve energy, and letting in more natural light boosts your mood, too! 

    With this simple technique, you’ll be saving money and feeling a bit better in the process - just by following nature’s light schedule.

    2. Unplug appliances when not in use and use smart power strips 

    Believe it or not, plugged-in appliances still use energy even when turned off! That phone charger that's always plugged in? Yes, even that is zapping energy when your phone isn't attached.

    These are often called phantom loads, and they can account for 23% of your monthly power usage! It's impractical to keep unplugging certain appliances in your home, like your oven or washing machine, but being more mindful about unplugging desk lamps, chargers, and the occasional hair dryer will go a long way in terms of energy savings.

    You can also add a smart power strip that automatically disconnects power to those devices you don't want sucking up power instead of unplugging each individual one after every use.

    3. Upgrade to a smart thermostat 

    Smart thermostats automatically adjust settings for your heating and air conditioning units, set a schedule for energy use, and turn off the lights when you’re not at home.
     4 digital renderings of the Nest Smart Thermostat, each display a different feature. Top left: weather, top right: internal temperature, bottom left: internal temperature using full screen, bottom right: analog clock

    The Nest smart thermostat makes it easy to conserve energy every day. Image source: Nest

    One of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption is to make sure your home isn’t using unnecessary power when you are at work or on vacation. After all, the house doesn’t need to be the perfect temperature when no one is home to enjoy it. 

    4. Use less hot water 

    Wash your clothes in cold water and yes, turn down the shower heat! A quick way to ease into this habit is by reducing the highest temperature on your water heater. Heating up water for dishes, laundry, and showers is a big energy thief. 

    While hot water is necessary in some cases, most of the time, your laundry and dishes won't notice the difference, thanks to new detergents meant to be used with cold water. Better yet, install a solar water heater to get your water heating needs pollution-free.

    5. Practice energy efficiency!

    Switch to energy-efficient appliances, insulate drafty parts of your home after conducting an energy audit, and check out some tips for more simple ideas for implementing energy-efficient behaviors. 

    Energy efficiency and energy conservation go hand in hand, so practice making your home more energy efficient while reducing your energy use.

    6. Change your light bulbs 

    One of the quickest updates you can make to your home is simply to change your light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs. These energy-efficient light bulb options will last longer and use less energy to light up your home.

    LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs save you money because you will need to buy less of them and because they cost less to light up your home. 

    7. Replace your windows 

    If you live in an older home or have not replaced your windows for years, you might be wasting energy trying to keep your home’s temperature regulated if air leaks from the windows, letting the cool or warm air escape.

    One option is two-pane energy-efficient windows, which can help keep the energy inside your home. Although replacing your windows could be a little pricey, it will pay off in the long run because your home will not be losing energy out the window.

    8. Insulate your home  

    Similarly to potential energy losses via drafty windows, if your home is not properly insulated, it will take more energy to keep the temperature consistent throughout the home. If you have a room in your house, perhaps the kitchen, that never seems to retain heat in the winter, that room is costing you money. 

    By insulating your house with the proper type of insulation, you will not need to waste electricity keeping your AC running or your heat blasting in the winter. 

    9. Air-dry your clothes 

    Although air-drying clothes may be unattractive to some, it can go a long way in conserving energy. One load in the dryer uses anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 watts of electricity for an electric dryer (energy use is measured differently for natural gas dryers).

    Only some loads are practical to air dry, but try challenging yourself to hang clothes periodically, like a load of delicates. Not only will this help your clothes to last longer due to less wear and tear from the dryer, but it will also keep your energy costs down. A win-win!

    10. Turn your refrigerator temperature up 

    It is safe to keep your refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, so consider turning it up to save some energy. Turning up the temperature is a simple way to conserve energy while still keeping your food safe and fresh.

    Most of these energy conservation examples are quick fixes to save you a large amount of energy and, in turn, lower your electric bill. If you want to get your electric bill to $0, adding solar panels can help you get there by generating electricity for free.

    Find out how much you can save annually by installing solar panels

    Using less energy is better for the environment

    Energy conservation will help reduce the amount of pollution that's emitted from traditional energy sources like coal or gas plants to power your home. With less carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, you are helping curb the amount of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere.

    It's not just about CO2 - burning fossil fuels releases harmful pollutants that cause respiratory issues and hazy skies. Lowering your energy consumption reduces particulate matter emitted from fossil fuels. Less power means less pollution, which means better health for you and the planet.

    Energy Star appliances save more money

    Retrofitting an entire home to include energy-efficient appliances is costly; for many, it’s just not practical. But, as your appliances age or break, replacing them with energy-efficient alternatives is the way to go!

    These appliances will reduce your total energy usage, keeping your bills low. The top appliances to replace are washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers. There are often rebates and incentives for replacing appliances with Energy Star options.

    Another unique way to conserve energy that is gaining popularity is replacing gas heating with geothermal heat pumps. They maintain the temperature in your house using energy from the earth, acting as heating and cooling systems. Heat pumps will reduce your energy bills and reliance on fossil fuels.

    Calculate what the solar payback period is for your home

    Energy conservation and solar power are a perfect pair

    If your intention is to conserve as much energy as possible, solar panels can help you reach this goal even quicker, saving you more money and contributing to a cleaner environment!

    Making the switch to an energy-conscious lifestyle is simple, and there is no better time to start than today. Find out if solar panels are a good option on your path to energy conservation. If you upgrade to solar energy, you are helping to accelerate the growing switch to renewable energy sources within the U.S.

    But, most practically, energy conservation also helps save you money. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average American home spends $2,000 a year on home utility bills, which can be reduced by 25% by taking energy conservation measures.

     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ana Almerini

    Marketing & Communications Manager

    Ana is the Marketing & Communications Manager at SolarReviews, working within the solar industry since 2020. With a Master's in Climate and Society and professional experience within marketing, she helps communicate the value of solar to homeowners and build out awareness of the SolarReviews brand.

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