Energy conservation has been on people’s minds for decades, but it becomes more important every year. The technologies available are changing every year and it’s hard to keep up. Below, Ranger Mac will go over the basics of energy conservation and what you can do to help.
Energy Conservation Basics
There are many methods for saving energy, both on a large and small scale. If you practice energy conservation in your home, not only will it save you money, but it also helps reduce the demand for harmful and depleting fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning less of these fuels means lower emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the primary factor in global warming and other air pollution issues.
If we do not try our best to help with energy conservation, the world will quickly deplete of all of its natural resources and result in a worse environment for future generations. If the US had not already set up restrictions and pro-energy conservation laws in past decades, our country would be in a worse state than it is now, especially in larger cities. You only have to look at the smog-ridden cities of China and other areas of the world to see what might have continued to happen in our own cities.
Even so, the average modern American produces around 40,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. By getting into the habit of following even a few steps of energy conservation, you could single-handedly cut your annual emissions by thousands of pounds. Switching to energy-saving appliances in your home will cut your energy bill as well, giving you a more tangible benefit right now.
Let's go over some ways that you can help conserve energy on your own and in your home. The goal with these energy-saving ideas and techniques is to help reduce demand, protect and replenish supplies, and clean up the damage from prior energy processes.
Conserve Energy with Home Appliances
Here are a few easy ways to cut down on energy consumption in your home with your appliances. This is a great way to improve energy conservation while also saving a few bucks on your monthly bill!
Check the refrigerator temperature. Your fridge can account for up to 20% of your households electricity use. Make sure you set the temperature in the fridge to 37 degrees. For most purposes, it does not need to be any colder.
Set your clothes washer to the warm or cold water setting. Do not use hot. Simply switching to warm water from hot on just two loads per week can save around 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year on an electric washer.
Turn down your water heater thermostat. Setting the water heater to 120 degrees is fine and can save around 600 pounds of carbon dioxide per year on an electric heater if it was set higher. If every household turned down the thermostat by 20 degrees, we could prevent more than 45 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions.
Make sure you only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full. Running small loads of dishes or laundry is not only inefficient on energy use, but most modern appliances run better when they have a full load anyway.
Let the dishes air dry. Turn off the heated drying cycle in favor of letting them air dry. Turning off the drying cycle can save 20 percent of your dishwasher’s total electricity use.
Purchase energy-efficient appliances. If you’re in the market for new appliances, make sure they have the Energy Star label. These energy-efficient appliances not only save energy, but also prevent pollution in the long run.
Energy Conservation from Home Heating and Cooling
Your home’s heating and cooling systems are a huge source of energy usage, so cutting down any expenditures here can make a big difference.
Make sure to not overheat or overcool the rooms in your home. In the winter months, set your thermostat to around 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. For the summer months, keep it at 78 degrees. Simply lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during winter can save 6 percent of heating-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Clean or replace air filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Cleaning a dirty air conditioner filter can save 5 percent of the energy used, saving up to 175 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Small Investments that Help Energy Conservation
Here are a few more ways you can improve your energy conservation within the home:
Use less hot water by installing a low-flow showerhead. These cost anywhere from $10 - $20 and can save around 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year for electrically heated water or around 80 pounds for gas heated water.
Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket, which costs $10 to $20 each. This can save 1100 pounds of carbon dioxide per year for an electrical water heater or around 220 pounds for a gas heater.
Make an investment in energy efficient light bulbs. In the long run, they only use ¼ the energy of an ordinary bulb and last 8 to 10 times longer. If every household replaced just one bulb with an energy efficient one, we would save the same amount of energy as a large nuclear power plant produces in one year.
Insulate your walls and ceilings. This can save 20 to 30 percent on your heating bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 140 to 2100 pounds per year.
Replace old windows with energy efficient, double sealed windows. This is a larger upfront expense, but one that will save you money over time and help greatly with energy conservation. It will also help keep out those nasty winter drafts!
If you cannot replace all the windows, make sure you insulate the windows well with caulk or weather stripping. You can also simply hang up thick curtains to help with the energy saving in your home.
Get More Involved
If you’re interested in getting more involved, you can try to make a difference politically. Get out there and educate yourself on your local government officials. See how they vote and where they stand on energy conservation, and vote accordingly. Take action in your local community to raise awareness of the problem and get others on board to help in the fight for energy conservation. The people and the planet depend upon it.
These are just some ideas of simple things you can do on your own in and around your home to help with energy conservation. No step is too small to take in the efforts to help conserve our Earth’s energy. When others around you start to notice what you are doing, they too may follow in your footsteps and start taking those steps as well. If you want more information on other types of conservation, check out Ranger Mac’s blog on water conservation here!