In this quick ACTION guide we’re going to show you a few simple strategies for conserving electricity and cutting your energy costs.
Even if the monthly saving figure is modest, the accumulated savings over a period of time can be significant.
Remember, ongoing saving are always a priority, especially if they are easy to implement.
Below are a few energy saving tips which can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year, depending on your usage. Pick the ones that resonate with you the most and start making changes today.
It’s estimated that around 75% of all power used by plug-in devices is wasted as standby power.
The solution: Switch appliances off at the wall when you’re not using them, especially when you go on a holiday or weekend away.
This includes appliances like televisions, sound systems, DVD players, microwave ovens, computers, and even dishwashers, wireless Internet modems, and washing machines.
When looking for a new appliance, buy the most energy-efficient model possible.
You can compare energy ratings on the stickers on appliances in the shops, or online. The More energy rating stars, the better. The appliance might cost more initially but it’s well worth it in the long run when taking into account the accumulated savings.
Also, pick the right size appliance and don’t be tempted to buy something too big. A large 5 star energy rating fridge, for example, can use more energy than a smaller 4 star fridge.
Charge your mobile phone and laptop when you are awake as oppose to when you are asleep.
When these devices are plugged in overnight and becomes fully charged, they still consume electricity. Not only that, leaving them plugged in after their charging cycle has been completed can potentially reduce battery life, depending on the model.
Heating the water in a washing machine accounts for around 90% of the total energy the machine uses.
The solution: stop using heat whenever you can and wash your clothes in cold water. Most laundry detergents sold in the stores these days work just as well in cold water.
The same can be said about your dishwasher. Simply reduce the temperature. You will find that it cleans just as well but you save lots of $$$.
Also, make sure you always run your washing machine and dishwasher when they have a full load in them.
Replace any incandescent bulb that you use more than 10 minutes per day with a more energy-efficient CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb) alternative.
You see, when you use the older incandescent bulbs, you pay more for light and it probably drives your electricity bill up significantly. These old bulbs are known to only convert 10% of energy to light and the rest is lost to heat. They also have a much shorter lifespan (up to 10 times less than CFL bulbs).
CFLs, which are simply mini versions of standard fluorescent light bulbs, can save you up to 75% on your lighting costs compared to incandescent bulbs.
If you want to go one step further, opt for LED (Light Emitting Diodes) fixtures.
These can reduce your lighting costs by up to a whopping 95% compared to incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are also brighter so you can enjoy more light.
LED lights generally cost more than CFLs, however they last longer, so even though you’re paying more initially, your overall cost over time is lower.
If you can’t afford right now to switch to LED or CFL light bulbs,
you can still reduce your monthly bill by simply switching to a lower wattage bulb such as a 20W or 35W bulb.
Another great way to get a natural-light feel in your home is installing skylights or solar tubes.
These can reduce the amount of artificial lighting needed and that usually translates to significant savings on your power bill.
Replacing old light bulbs is not the only way to save money on your lighting costs. Use natural light as much as possible
It’s free and you’ll likely have to spend very little to enhance it.
Here are a few simple ways to take advantage of your home’s natural light:
- Open all curtains and blinds before you turn any light on.
- Keep windows clean and free from obstructions
- Consider placing mirrors opposite your windows to increase the light reflected in the room.
Finally, go solar whenever possible.
Sure, this can be expensive to buy upfront but they are cheaper in the long run than electricity.
If you are interested in looking further into this, we have a separate (and very comprehensive!) guide covering all your solar power options, including if you are a renter or live in a unit complex or apartment building.
Save Money on Heating and Cooling Costs
Given that heating and cooling are huge energy drains—representing around 40% of household energy usage – the potential savings benefits, both in terms of money saved and environmental impact, are fairly significant.
Below are 10 simple ways to save on home heating or cooling. Pick the ones that resonate with you the most and start making changes today.
Changing your thermostat by just 2 degrees can add 10-20% to the running cost of your air conditioner or heater, so make sure you set them at optimum temperatures. The ideal temperature in winter is 18-20 degrees while in summer it’s 24 degrees.
Set your hot water tank temperature at a lower level and consider installing a separate timer so you can set a specific length of time for heating the water in the tank. Also, consider insulating your hot water pipes and the side of the tanks as heat can easily be lost through there.
If your home is not well insulated, consider adding ceiling insulation as around 35% of energy is lost through the ceiling. It will keep the warmth in during winter and keep out unwanted heat in summer. Carpets are another form of insulation – They will help to reduce heat loss through the floor.
The most inexpensive form of heating comes from the sun. On cold mornings, open your curtains to let the daytime sun into your home. Conversely, on warm mornings, close your curtains and windows to keep hot air from coming in.
Install seals and sealing strips around doors and windows in order to stop hot air (in summer) or cold air (in winter) from coming in. A simple way to check if your windows and doors are properly sealed is to light a candle and hold it in front of your windows/doors. If the flame flickers, there is probably air coming in from the outside.
Avoid using electric heaters in big spaces as they are more expensive to run. Some better choices are: high-efficiency natural gas heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners. In small spaces, electric heaters can be a good option as long as they are used only when absolutely needed.
When it comes to keeping your house cool, consider installing a ceiling or wall fan. They are significantly cheaper to operate. Operating an A/C unit can cost up to 80 times more than a fan. Needless to say, if you decide to buy an A/C unit, make sure it has a high star rating.
On very cold nights dress appropriately. Thick socks, high quality warm shoes or slippers plus a good blanket can make a world of difference.
If your A/C unit has adjustable louvres, adjust them up towards the ceiling. It’s a more efficient way of cooling a room as cool air falls and hot air rises.
Another way to keep your room cool and reduce your costs is to install outdoor blinds. It is estimated that 50% of household heat is gained through the windows and high quality blinds can reduce this number dramatically.
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