There are so many different ways to conserve energy, both at home and at work – it’s unlikely that anyone knows them all. We’ve put together a list of easy things you can do in your everyday life to reduce your energy consumption. Even if you adopt just one or two of these easy ideas, over time, it can add up to a big, positive impact for our planet.
1. Dress for the weather – inside and outdoors. You might have heard it a thousand times when you were growing up: “Put on a sweater!” It turns out to be good advice. If you’re walking around your home and feeling a little chilly, put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. Do the opposite during the summer to help keep your cool, and you’ll save money by reducing your energy bill, too.
2. Power down. Already turning off office lights at the end of the day? Terrific. Now go one step further and unplug chargers and other devices that won’t be used overnight. They’re still drawing energy, even when they’re not actively charging a device. (This one’s true both at home and at work.)
3. Close your curtains or open them wide. Depending on the season, whether your curtains, shades or shutters are open or closed can have a significant impact on your home’s energy use. In winter, open them up on the sunnier sides of your home to allow radiant heat. In summer, close them up during the day. A darker room will stay cooler and reduce your energy impact. Worried about your houseplants? Give them a vacation outdoors for the season!
4. Eat locally grown foods. There are many great health benefits for buying locally sourced food, but you might not know it saves energy, as well. Locally grown food travels shorter distances, which means less energy is used in transportation. Talk about a win-win.
5. Shut the (refrigerator) door. Instead of standing in front of an open refrigerator door, gazing at your options and making your fridge generate more cold air, plan ahead before you open the door. Then get in and get out quickly. Bonus: Planning ahead might help you make better choices, and could even help you lose weight.
6. Switch out light bulbs. Follow Macy’s example, and replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, such as LEDs. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they can last as long as 20 years. Think of all the dead bulbs you’ll be keeping out of our landfills (not to mention all the money you’ll save on our electric bill).
7. Keep air vents clear. Blocked vents mean up to 25 percent more energy is required to circulate air in a workspace, according to Energy Star. Keep paper, files and office supplies away from vents and enjoy a more comfortable – as well as greener – work environment.
8. Wash laundry in cold water. Your clothes get just as clean and might even last longer if you wash them in cold water. It uses substantially less energy and can save you $60 per year or more, according to Consumer Reports. Plus, many laundry detergents are formulated specifically for cold water use, and some stains (particularly protein-based stains, such as sweat or blood) should only be washed in cold water anyway.
9. Get an energy audit. Many utility companies offer free energy audits. They can identify energy losses around your home and offer suggestions for how to mitigate them, like sealing leaky ductwork.
10. Top it off. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. You’ll save water, detergent, money and time. Doing one big load instead of several small ones means less time stacking, fluffing, folding and putting away – and more time for you!