The word energy conjures up all sorts of images for everyone. The truest and simplest definition of energy is simply the “power derived from the utilization of resources to provide light or heat.” Energy is what we need throughout our day, whether it is to provide light in a dark room or make a car move forward. When we simplify what energy actually is, it becomes easier to think about conserving it in our daily lives. A handy checklist below may help you get started on the road to being more energy-efficient, both in big and in small ways.
- Clean your refrigerator coils a couple of times a year.
- Don’t preheat your oven. Modern ovens heat quickly enough that you can usually pop things in as soon as you turn them on.
- Only run a full dishwasher, and pick the shortest cycle that works for your load.
- Double up when you are baking. Make a dish for today and tomorrow.
- Make sure that your refrigerator and freezer seals are tight.
- Don’t overfill your fridge or keep it empty- it works optimally being just full enough.
- Unplug small appliances when you are not using them.
- Use the smallest appliance necessary for a task. A toaster uses less energy than broiling in your oven. A crockpot uses less energy than an oven that is on for hours.
- Consider turning your water down to 120 degrees. This is still hot enough for clean dishes and comfortable showers but saves energy!
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Use power strips if you have several items to plug in and turn the strips off when not in use.
- Close curtains in the heat of the day.
- Take advantage of cross breezes and open windows during the cooler parts of the day.
- Use a programmable thermostat for efficiency.
- Replace old light bulbs with CFLs whenever possible.
- Keep your HVAC filters clean and change regularly.
- Install low flow showerheads and faucets whenever possible
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Only run full loads of laundry.
- Clean your dryer vent regularly.
- Replace appliances with those that are Energy Star rated.
- Make sure that drafts are not coming in through windows and doors.
- Have an energy audit performed on your home.
- Upgrade your insulation to a more efficient one.
- Caulk windows, and add weatherstripping to your doors.
- Replace your furnace with a more efficient model.
- Install Solar panels on your home, and look for state rebates or savings.
- Lessen your use of your cars – carpool, ride the train, or your bike.
- Buy a hybrid car, or at least a more efficient replacement car.
- Look for air leaks around switchplates, and fix.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient double and triple-paned windows.
These are just a few ideas for you to get started on becoming more energy efficient around your home. Once you begin, you will keep finding ways that will help you become even better at being energy efficient. Every single thing that you implement will be good for both your family and for the world around you!