Resolve to Save Money and Energy
By Shannon M. Medisky
The beginning of the new year is traditionally the time when many of us will turn our thoughts to shedding extra pounds in an effort to become healthier, but it’s also the perfect time to think about reducing our energy consumption in an effort to help the environment as well as our bottom line. If you’re ready to “go green” to start saving more green—at least electrically speaking—then consider the following tips:
Stop prerinsing your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Most dishwashers today are capable of getting dishes really, really clean without the extra “prerinse” provided by you. Instead, just scrape off the big chunks and stop running the water (and wasting your time) needlessly. You can save over 6,000 gallons of water per year and start putting as much as $75 per year back into your pocket.
Do clean the fridge. Check all the seals to ensure they’re undamaged and able to do their job. Clean the coils behind or underneath the fridge in order to improve its efficiency. And make sure the fridge isn’t overly stocked. A fridge that’s too jam-packed requires much more time with the door open—and cool air escaping—in order to get in and get what you wanted in the first place.
Take advantage of your computer’s sleep mode. Opting to turn on your computer’s standby, sleep or hibernate mode doesn’t just save energy, it can save you cash, too, to the tune of about $75 per year. (To do this in Windows, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Power Management.)
Wash in cold water, instead of hot. Unless you’re sanitizing sheets and towels, most laundry can be effectively washed in cold water only. Doing so not only helps the environment by completely eliminating the energy-drain of heating water, but also can save you up to $60 per year.
Take advantage of your own energy. Ever notice how quickly a room heats up when there’s lots of people? Three needn’t only be a crowd, it can mean warmth and cash in your pocket, too. Capitalize on this increase in temperature by turning your home’s thermostat down. Strategically place decorative and useful throws around the house and encourage family members to dress in layers even inside.
Make strategic use of your blinds, curtains and other window coverings. During daylight hours, be sure to open them all up in order to let all the daylight in, requiring less dependence on artificial light inside. At night, be sure to close them all not only for privacy, but to help retain the interior heat as well.
Switch over to CLFs. CLFs or compact fluorescent light bulbs are initially more expensive than the traditional incandescent counterparts, but the savings—both monetarily and electrically—can’t be beat. They are available anywhere light bulbs are sold (even Ikea has a great, inexpensive selection of these), and many local electric companies even offer rebates for those willing to make the switch. Commit to switching out just 10 of your most-used bulbs and you stand to see a savings of about $60 per year.
Photo credit: p.Gordon
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