Consume Less: Electricity

power linesElectricity is a readily available resource many of us take for granted (and use more than we need to).  Although some electricity is produced though renewable resources such as nuclear, solar, and wind technologies, we should still focus on reducing our overall consumption and dependence on electricity.

Why?Most power companies burn fossil fuels to produce the majority of our electric power.  This means pollution for our air and waterways, which negativity affects natural ecosystems and human populations.  Consuming less electricity means less needs to be produced, leading to lower levels of pollution and destruction to the environment.

As a great bonus, learning to use less electricity makes you more prepared to handle situations where you are without power for a period of time, AND you’ll save on your electric bill every month.  Who doesn’t want to save a little money?

10 Ways to Save Electricity

  1. Reduce your reliance on appliances.  Line-dry your clothes instead of using the dryer, and try going longer in between washing loads of laundry.  This will extend the life of your garments too.
  2. Get rid of small, unnecessary appliances.  Ditch the plug-in air freshener and open a window. Use a manual can opener instead of an electric one.  I personally haven’t used an electric hand mixer in years–get out the spatula or whisk and work those arms!
  3. Use appliances efficiently.  Wash only FULL loads in the washer and dishwasher, do all your baking on one day (to avoid heating up the oven multiple times), and don’t stand in front of the fridge with the door open.
  4. Insulate better.  Check your windows for leaks, make sure the insulation in your attic is at least 6 inches thick, and insulate both your water pipes and hot water heater to reduce wasteful heat loss.
  5. Keep your thermostat lower in the winter.  Even a 2 degree difference can save you up to 10% on your energy bill, and you probably won’t notice a difference.  If you do. put on a sweater!
  6. Use less hot water.  This includes taking showers instead of baths, and taking shorter showers too.
  7. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones.  Compact florescent light bulbs are affordable and easy to find.  They also mimic the same soft glow as traditional bulbs so they aren’t harsh on your eyes.  Consider using lower wattage bulbs in areas of your house where you don’t need bright direct lighting.
  8. Turn off the lights!  No brainer.  Turn off lights and appliances (like the TV) when you leave the room.
  9. Embrace natural light.  Open the curtains and make the most of daylight hours.  Don’t turn lights on during the day and make sure outdoor lighting is on a timer or motion sensor.
  10. Unplug anything you aren’t using–your cell phone charger, the toaster, the hair dryer, your computer at the end of the day, even the TV.  Try to set up the room so you can easily get to the outlets–it’ll make this process much easier and the amount of power you save is well worth it.

Want to go above and beyond? Bonus points if you can go without electricity for one night a week.  This means after dinner is cooked, no more electricity.  Eat by candlelight, read a book, have a family game night, hang out with friends, or go out for a walk.  This is much easier to do in the summer when the days are longer, and I bet you’ll get some great experiences and stronger relationships for it.

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