How mindful are you of conserving energy in your household? As I get older, wiser and in more debt, energy saving is increasingly more important. In an age of rising gas and electricity prices, managing your energy use properly in the house is a good way to keep bills manageable. We are pretty big on conserving energy in our household. Aside from saving dollars, keeping our energy use under control is also a way to limit our carbon footprint. And it’s actually pretty simple to do.
To cut down on the electricity used for lighting we recently replaced all older incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs. Simple. And convincing hubby to upgrade our washing machine was easy when I pointed out the much higher efficiency rating. But not every energy-saving technique requires ultra-modern technology. Some ways to save are simple lessons that you probably learned from your parents.
1. Turn It Off
If you ever left a room with the light on when you were a child, you probably remember being scolded for it. I certainly was. At the time it felt unfair – after all, what difference could a few extra minutes with the light on make? In fact, lights left on use up a steady trickle of electricity that adds up significantly over time. Similarly, appliances left on standby don’t use up much electricity, but they use it up over the entire day.
2. Put On a Jumper
Complaining to your parents that you were cold probably earned you an admonition to put on a jumper. While this may have seemed callous to a child, the fact is that it’s good advice. Adjusting your comfort level by putting on warmer clothes is much easier than using up energy to heat an entire home.
3. Don’t Let the Draught In
It’s a fact that all but the newest homes are likely to have draughts. And our house is full of them. Poorly fitting doors, cracks around windows and other gaps can all let cold air in, making it more expensive to heat the house. Doing a little DIY to repair some of the worst offenders can lead to major savings over the lifetime of a house, but even simple steps like fitting a draught excluder to a door can help minimise the loss from poor insulation.
4. Turn Off the Tap
Parents always seemed to have some kind of psychic ability to detect when the hot tap was being left running. Their concerns were well-founded: leaving the hot tap running while doing the washing up wastes not only the energy to heat the water but water as well. There are other ways to save energy in the kitchen as well. Small things such as making sure that you don’t boil more water than you need to when making a cup of tea can add up to long-term energy savings.
5. Here Comes the Sun
It isn’t just moody teenagers who like to keep their curtains closed, shrouding their rooms in darkness. Many of us have the bad habit of closing our curtains at night to help improve our insulation but then leaving them closed during the day when we could be letting the sun heat up our homes. If your mother ever yanked your curtains open, she wasn’t just expressing her hope that you would finally get out of bed, she also knew that the sun is the best way of keeping your home warm without paying a penny.
Many of the things our parents did or said that seemed inexplicable to us as children were actually sensible after all. Saving energy is no different; in a world of ever-increasing costs, it turns out that we can use the lessons our parents taught us, as well as new technology they never had access to, to help keep our energy spending – and environmental impact – under control. And I am a big believer in teaching our kids about how we can do our bit to help the environment.
Do you have any other tips for keeping energy under control in your household?
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