At its core, energy conservation is the practice of using less energy to reduce costs and reduce environmental impact. This could mean using less electricity, gas or any other form of energy you get from your utility and pay for. With the limited energy resources available on our planet, actively conserving energy whenever possible benefits both individually and our larger energy systems. While energy conservation is the practice of using less energy for cost and environmental reasons, energy efficiency refers to the use of specific products designed to use less energy. These two concepts are essentially similar but involve different methods. Examples of saving energy include using smart appliances and energy-saving light bulbs in your home.
Replace your light bulbs with LEDs
If your home isn’t already using LED bulbs, it’s time to switch. LED lighting may cost you more up front than incandescent halogen or fluorescent bulbs, but you can save $45 a year just by replacing five older bulbs with LEDs. The more bulbs you switch to LED, the more money you’ll save. In addition to requiring less energy to emit light, they will also last you longer. A high-efficiency LED bulb should last you at least a decade.
Install a programmable or smart thermostat
A programmable thermostat can automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling when you’re sleeping or away. When you install a programmable thermostat, you eliminate excess heating and cooling energy without upgrading your HVAC system.
On average, a programmable thermostat can save you $180 per year. Programmable thermostats come in a variety of models that can be set to fit your weekly schedule. Additional features of programmable thermostats can include indicators of when to change air filters or HVAC system problems, which also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
Seal all air leaks
Energy-efficient windows are one of the gold standards for using less energy at home, but it’s not always financially viable to completely replace all your windows. Instead, you can still make an impact by air-sealing your home with either caulking or weatherproofing. Leaky air allows heat to escape in the winter and cool air to escape in the summer, meaning your home has to work harder to maintain the temperatures you want. Go hunting for air leaks in your house and then seal them. Leaks often occur around doors and windows, as well as around outlets and in areas where cables, plumbing or pipes enter.
Buy energy efficient appliances
On average, appliances are responsible for approximately 13% of total household energy use. When buying an appliance, there are two numbers to consider: the initial purchase price and the annual operating costs. Look for appliances with the Energy Star label, which is a federal guarantee that the appliance will use less energy during use and when it’s on standby than standard models. Energy savings vary by appliance. For example, Energy Star-certified washing machines consume 25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional ones, while Energy Star refrigerators use only 9% less energy.