How to Save Energy, Save Money, & Help The Environment
Cutting down on energy usage saves money and helps the environment.
Even if electricity is perceived by the final user as a clean energy, with no visible repercussions on the environment, the process of generating electricity has heavy consequences in terms of pollutions and toxic waste.
Energy Is Used for Essential and Non-Essential Things
Demand for energy has increased incredibly rapidly in the last few years, and it does not show any signs of slowing down.
The huge need for energy includes necessities like:
- essential trips.
But some uses of power can be considered nonessential in many cases, like:
- air conditioners,
- lights left on in empty buildings,
- extra televisions and appliances,
- big cars,
- and all wasteful uses of energy.
Electricity is produced by an electric power plant,
most of the time using non-renewable fuel source such as
coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear energy
which all produce environmental pollution.
Energy Saving Tips
- Turn off idle appliances. Most idle appliances - TV, VCRs, CD players, microwaves, chargers - continue to consume electricity even when switched off.
To turn off completely their consumption of energy while on idle status, you may plug them into a smart power strip that cuts completely the power when it recognizes they are turned off.
- Heat and cool less. Heating and cooling systems use the most power in the house. Change gradually your comfort temperature adjusting the thermostat settings a little bit at the time. Program different settings for when you are at home, when you are out of the house, at night and when you go on vacation.
- Upgrade appliances to conserve. Modern appliances are designed to use much less power than the old ones, the most improved being the new refrigerators and washing machines, which are proved to be two of the largest energy eaters at home. Look for the most energy-efficient products when you are buying new appliances.
However, everything you buy new to save energy, from an environmental point of view, you should weigh against the cost of the energy and materials to produce it.
- Wash laundry with cold or warm water. Hot water washing cycles use all the energy needed for the washing machine to operate, plus the energy to heat the water.
- Improve your home insulation. Keep the cold out in winter and the cool air in in the summer. Start from properly insulating the attic, than tackle all the places where air leaks out. A well-insulated home requires smaller heating and cooling systems.
- Maintain your furnace with annual cleaning and maintenance to keep it running efficiently.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Improve your water heating efficiency/consumption. To save energy and money on water heating, a huge impact is due to conserving hot water: limit shower length, install a low flow shower-head.
- Purchase a more energy efficient water heater, or install a solar powered one. A great solution are the tank-less models, that heat the water on demand, saving all the energy required to keep the tank of water at the programmed temperature.
- Save gasoline. Work from home when possible, carpool, accelerate smoothly, and turn off the car when sitting in line.
- Become energy self-sufficient.
- Consider investing in solar, wind, geothermal, wave, fuel cell, or bio energy solutions that fit your unique energy needs.
- Look for Government funds and incentives to reduce your costs for implementing renewable energy solutions.
- Make sound financial decisions on various energy options.
Cost of energy is increasing, and people look for ways to use less.
In period of economic recession or crisis, like the one we are living now, there is an increased potential to achieve energy savings as a society.
When energy costs go up, and income decreases, people look for creative ways to save money and are willing to give up the non-essential. This happened in the 70s, during the oil embargo, and it's happening now.
Unfortunately using cheaper energy sources doesn't necessarily mean that we are doing the environment a favor. Often the cheaper way to go is also highly polluting. In this case a better choice would be to reduce consumption in order to keep the cost down.
Energy, Let's Save It! video
© 2012 Robie Benve