The top 5 energy conservation techniques and how they benefit your budget
Conserving energy can be as simple as changing your daily habits, like opening your curtains instead of turning on a light, or by using less hot water. Whatever your motivation for conserving energy, be it to save money or to help the environment, it can seem like one more daunting task for your “to-do” list.
But worry not, being a little greener is easier than you think! In this blog, we’ll uncover the best energy conservation techniques to reduce both your carbon footprint and electric bill.
But first, we’ll walk you through the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency.
What’s the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency?
It is important to recognize that energy conservation and energy efficiency are separate tools to reach the same goal - to save energy!
Energy conservation takes place when you perform actions that lead to less energy being used. 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 technology that requires less energy to complete a task. For example, electric vehicles (EVs) use less gas and carbon emissions by drawing on battery power. If you can afford to upgrade to energy efficient appliances, that’s another great way to save money on energy costs, too.
One way to look at energy conservation versus energy efficiency is to think about the difference between LED light bulbs and older, incandescent light bulbs. Say your home has incandescent bulbs and you wanted to practice energy conservation. To do so, you could turn on your lights as little as possible, relying on sunlight throughout the day.
If your home has the more energy efficient LED light bulbs, you can save energy compared to incandescent bulbs - without changing your habits.
Top 5 energy conservation techniques
With all of the potential good that it can bring, making energy conservation simple and easy to follow is key. Here are the top five ways to conserve energy:
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
“Vampire power,” a phenomenon in which plugged-in appliances still use energy even when turned off and not in use, can account for 23% of your power usage each month. That phone charger that’s always plugged in? Yes, that is zapping energy even when your phone isn’t attached.
While it’s impractical to always keep unplugging certain appliances in your home, like the refrigerator and your oven, being more mindful about unplugging desk lamps, chargers, and the occasional hair dryer will go a long way in terms of energy conservation - and saving you money on your electric bill.
3. Upgrade to a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats give you the ability to 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.
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, oftentimes your laundry and dishes won't even notice the difference, thanks to new detergents that are meant to be used with cold water. Better yet, install a solar water heater to get your hot water pollution-free.
5. Practice energy efficiency!
Switch to energy efficient appliances and insulate drafty parts of your home after conducting an energy audit. These are some simple, easily implemented energy efficient behaviors.
Though the two concepts 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.
Benefits of energy conservation
It is never too late to start conserving energy, the benefits of doing so add up! Some of the perks of being energy-conscious include:
Saving money by using less energy
When you change your habits to use less energy in everyday life, you can save money on your energy bills. Reducing your energy consumption leads to less energy needing to be generated to power your home, which ultimately saves you money.
For example, the 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.
Qualifying for incentives that save you even more
In many states, residents are encouraged to reduce their energy consumption to help states reach environmental goals, such as reducing CO2 emissions and pollution. For instance, if a majority of a state's residents commit to being more energy-conscious, pollution would be reduced, which means cleaner air for everyone.
The federal government and states offer various incentives to help make energy conservation choices less expensive for consumers and businesses. It might not be feasible for some who aren’t in the financial position to upgrade their homes and businesses; these incentives serve to alleviate this burden.
Using less energy is better for the environment
If you have not yet switched to solar, energy conservation will help you reduce the amount of pollution that’s emitted to power your home from traditional energy sources like coal or gas plants. With less CO2 in the air, you are helping curb the amount of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere.
Not only are CO2 emissions reduced, you are also helping lessen air pollution that causes respiratory issues and hazy skies - particularly, you are reducing particulate matter emissions. When less pollution is emitted in order to power your home, the air becomes a little easier to breathe!
Make the most out of energy conservation with solar
If you make the upgrade to solar, you are helping to accelerate the growing switch to renewable energy within the US. And, as an added bonus, switching to renewables is infectious; you’ll likely be encouraging your neighbors to start living greener lifestyles, as well.
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 more quickly, effectively 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. So turn off those lights and unplug the appliances, you’ve got some energy to conserve.
Author: Ana Almerini | Web Content Specialist
Ana is a web content specialist at SolarReviews. She has 5 years of marketing experience blended with 2 years of experience in climate communications and holds a master of arts degree in climate and society from Columbia University. Ana frequently volunteers for environmental causes ranging from oyster reef restoration in NJ to expanding bike sharing in Naples, Italy.