Most of the equipment you use in your daily activities requires energy to function. Such equipment includes our household appliances, lighting, cooling and heating system, and others. They make our life more comfortable and convenient.
Excessive energy use, however, is harmful to the environment. The more energy we use, the more fossil fuels we burn, increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The increase in greenhouse gases warms up the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in global warming and climate change. Furthermore, increased energy use results in increased energy costs.
What can you do to reduce your energy consumption? Improving your daily routines can help you use less energy. You can cut energy usage and save money on energy bills by implementing energy-saving strategies.
This article expands on the significance of saving energy. It details how energy conservation can benefit both individuals and the environment. This article also provides energy savings tips, applicable to efficiently utilizing energy and saving expenses in your home or office, during the summer or winter, or when conducting business operations.
Why Save Energy?
Before we start sharing our energy savings tips, let’s first understand why saving energy is essential. Saving energy helps preserve our natural resources. Energy-saving practices limit hazardous emissions that cause harm to nature. Furthermore, saving energy helps create a healthy environment for us to live in.
Besides the environmental advantages, energy conservation also benefits you financially. By reducing your energy consumption, you can save a significant amount of money.
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming and climate change. The burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electricity usage from homes, businesses, and factories account for approximately 25% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the US. This data suggests that energy conservation is essential to prevent the increase of greenhouse gases, resulting in less environmental harm.
Saving energy can start at home. You can reduce your energy consumption by simply paying more attention to reducing energy wastage or replacing old appliances with newer, more energy-efficient models. Through energy-saving practices, you can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy-saving practices do not only preserve our environment but also help you save money. You can minimize energy expenses by opting for energy-efficient home appliances and preventing energy waste.
Using LED lights instead of incandescent lights for your home lighting can save approximately 200$ per year. Energy consumption can also be reduced by regulating household heating and cooling operations. You can save roughly 30% of your electricity expenses by using less hot water, utilizing a programmable thermostat, and sealing air leakages.
Aside from the environmental and economic benefits of energy conservation, it can also increase the quality of living. Energy-saving practices provide additional comfort and health benefits.
Weatherizing your home can help you keep a comfortable room temperature, especially in the winter and summer months. With sufficient ventilation, you can limit the accumulation of air pollutants that can cause health concerns.
What Can You Do to Save Energy at Home?
If you want to reduce your energy consumption, you can start at home. Apart from just installing a solar panel, here are some home energy savings tips that you can do and are far more practical:
Turn Off Unused Lights
Home lighting accounts for about 15% of total energy use in your home. Occasionally, you may leave the room lights on while no one is around, resulting in excessive energy costs. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when a room is unused or unoccupied to save electricity at home.
Unplug Unused Appliances
After using a particular appliance at home, some tend to leave it plugged in. However, many plugged appliances still draw electricity even when unused or turned off (even when they’re deemed super effecient: induction cooker). Make sure you unplug appliances and turn off the lights in your house after each usage to save more energy.
Utilize Natural Lights
Limit your home lighting usage by utilizing natural lights, especially during the daytime. Natural light brightens the room during the day without having to use electricity. In addition, natural light tends to reduce your blood pressure and stress, as well as boosting your immune system. When building or renovating your home, make sure that your home design incorporates the use of natural lighting. You can also add more windows to let more natural light enter the room.
Use Energy-Efficient Lights
Several households still use traditional incandescent light bulbs, which consume a great deal of energy. If your home uses one, consider replacing it with energy-saving light alternatives, such as LED lights. Nowadays, more homeowners are shifting to LED lights for their household lighting systems. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights are more cost-effective and use less energy.
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Is it about time that you upgrade your old appliances to newer ones? Modern versions of appliances are more energy-efficient and cost-effective. In purchasing, choose appliances with the ENERGY STAR or its equivalent in your country. The ENERGY STAR logo indicates that the product has met federal energy efficiency and quality standards.
In addition, most appliances come with Energy Guide labels that tell you how much energy they use. You can use this label to evaluate appliances of similar models and select the most energy-efficient option that matches your budget.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A thermostat enables you to regulate your home temperature. Maintaining a comfortable room temperature consumes a significant amount of energy, especially under extreme weather situations. However, you can save electricity costs by opting for a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat allows you to set your home’s heating and cooling operations automatically. For instance, during the cold season, you can set the thermostat to lower the temperature when you are away from home to minimize energy consumption.
Use Smart Technology
Nowadays, several manufacturers offer appliances that utilize smart technology. A smart appliance is equipped with features that make it easier and more efficient to use. For instance, a smart appliance automatically turns off when not in use, allowing you to save money on energy consumption.
Reduce Water Heating
Water heating makes up about 20% of your household’s energy consumption. You can minimize water heating expenses and save energy by simply using water less frequently and more efficiently. You can conserve water by washing a full load of laundry. You can also replace your water heater with a more efficient model, such as a tankless or solar water heater. Fitting low-flow aerators to taps can save a lot of hot water, as can low-flow showerheads.
Wash Clothes at a Lower Temperature
It is essential to wash your clothes to keep them fresh and clean. However, washing clothes using warm water can cost you a considerable amount of energy. To save energy, you can simply use cold water for your laundry. Most clothes can be effectively cleaned using cold water.
Seal Air Leaks
Whenever there are cracks or openings in your home, air leaks happen. The room temperature becomes colder in the winter and much hotter in the summer due to air leakage, forcing you to increase room heating or cooling operations.
Applying sealing techniques, such as caulking or weatherstripping, can reduce the amount of air entering and exiting your home, regulating the room temperature. By doing so, you can save energy and cooling and heating expenses.
A quick word of caution, however. Very tightly sealed homes can have problems with indoor air quality and mold. Using a heat recovery ventilator in the heating and cooling seasons is an efficient way of providing fresh air.
These Things Add Up
The amount you can save from each energy-saving tip appears small. However, the more energy-efficient practices you employ, the more energy expenses you can save. For instance, replacing old appliances with new energy-efficient ones, regulating heating and cooling systems efficiently, and switching incandescent bulbs with LED lights can save you a total of around $600-900 annually on energy bills, as presented in the table below.
|Energy-Saving Tips||Estimated Annual Savings|
|Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances||$400-500|
|Efficient Heating and Cooling||$100-200|
|Switch to LED Lights||$100-200|
Saving Energy in the Office
You can also employ energy conservation practices in your workplace. As an employee or a business owner, you should still carry the discipline of saving energy outside your home. Here are additional energy-saving tips that you can apply in your office:
Upgrade Office Equipment
Older models of office equipment, including computers, printers, and photocopying machines, draw an unnecessarily large amount of energy. Consider replacing them with more energy-efficient newer models to reduce the office’s energy consumption and cost. Choose federally certified equipment that comes with the ENERGY STAR logo or equivalent.
Use Laptops Instead of Desktops
In purchasing new workplace equipment or upgrading existing ones, opt for laptops over desktops wherever possible. Laptops are portable and take up less space in your workplace. You can also bring laptops anywhere when needed. More importantly, laptops consume less energy than desktop computers, allowing you to save on energy usage.
Minimize Printing and Photocopying Operations
Unless a hard copy is required, avoid printing and photocopying office documents. Instead, utilize online platforms such as shared drives or emails in sharing documents with co-workers. Minimizing the use of printers and photocopiers reduces energy consumption and lessens paper wastage.
Switch Off and Unplug Unused Office Equipment
When office equipment is not in use or after working hours, make sure that it is turned off and unplugged to save energy. Unplugged electronics, such as printers, laptops, or desktop computers, continue to draw power even after turning them off, increasing energy waste. In addition, see to it that all lights are turned off before leaving your office.
Energy-Saving Tips for Summer
The temperature rises during summer. You may want to keep the thermostat settings at a lower temperature to maintain a comfortable room temperature during this period, costing you more money. There are, however, other cost-effective ways to cool your home and save energy throughout the summer. Here are some of them:
Clean Your Air Filter
Air filters accumulate dirt and dust over time. Dirty air filters limit your air conditioner’s cooling performance. Air conditioners with clogged air filters draw excessive energy to cool the room, especially during summer. Your air conditioner will use less energy and function more efficiently if you clean or replace your air filters regularly, saving you money on energy costs.
Warm Not Cold
Instead of putting the thermostat down, put it up by a degree or two so the house is warm instead of cold in summer. You can wear lighter clothes and save a lot of energy while remaining comfortable.
Use Fans for Cooling
A fan creates a cooling breeze by moving the existing air inside the room. Air movement over the skin has a cooling effect of around 3 degrees Celsius. During summer, when the outdoor temperature is hotter than usual, use a fan to cool yourself. Utilizing a fan allows you to set the thermostat at higher temperatures to save more energy without compromising comfort. Just remember to switch off the fan when you leave the room.
Install Window Coverings
Solar radiation coming through the windows raises your home temperature. As the room temperature increases, your air conditioner requires more energy to cool the room and maintain a comfortable temperature. Install window coverings, such as curtains, drapes, shades, or blinds, to block natural light and prevent heat gain. Window coverings also reduce cooling losses, resulting in lower energy bills.
Avoid Using Ovens
Cooking with kitchen appliances like ovens generates heat in the room. When the temperature increases, the air conditioner has to draw more energy to keep the room cool. Consider cooking or grilling outside your home whenever possible. By doing this, you can save energy from using kitchen appliances and avoid additional costs associated with home cooling.
Winter Energy-Saving Tips
The temperature gets colder during winter, increasing the operation of your home’s heating system. Setting your thermostat at a higher temperature during cold weather raises your energy bills. Here are some energy-saving tips to help you reduce your heating expenses:
Utilize Heat from Sunlight
The Sun provides free natural heat. During the day, open your window curtains or blinds to allow sunlight to enter your home and warm the room temperature. Utilizing the heat from the Sun enables you to lower the thermostat temperature and save more energy.
Close Windows Curtains at Night
When the Sun goes down, the room loses heat through the windows. Close your window curtains or blinds to add room insulation and decrease heat loss. By keeping the heat, you can maintain a comfortable room temperature at night without adjusting the thermostat settings, enabling you to save on energy usage.
Use Winter Clothes and Blankets
You can keep your body warm without raising the thermostat temperature by wearing winter clothing. When you are at home, put on a warm sweater and some socks. It is more cost-effective than any other home heating system. During the night, keep the thermostat at a low temperature to save energy bills and compensate by warming your bed with thick blankets and comforters.
Heat flows from warmer to cooler places. During winter, the outdoor temperature drops, causing the heat from your home to escape through windows, attics, and other openings. Adding insulation to your home provides heat flow resistance, keeping the warm air inside the room and reducing your heating expenses. That’s why adding insulation should be one of your first activities when moving into a poorly insulated home or office.
Energy-Saving Tips for Businesses
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), such as restaurants, salons, motels, and others, are gearing up towards sustainability. More businesses are employing energy-efficient practices to minimize their energy expenses and help the environment. Limiting energy usage reduces greenhouse gas emissions, preventing environmental harm.
The same energy savings tips already mentioned can still be applied to business operations. For example, investing in energy-efficient equipment and lighting for your business can significantly reduce your energy usage. Efficient cooling and heating practices, including regular air conditioner maintenance, weatherization, and the use of a programmable thermostat, also help decrease your energy consumption. Such practices enable you to maximize business profit by avoiding unnecessary expenses on energy waste.
Other than these energy-efficient practices, here are other energy-saving tips that you can apply to your business to further increase its energy efficiency:
Encourage Employee Involvement
As a business owner, you cannot employ energy-saving practices on your own. Employee involvement is essential to implement energy conservation within the business effectively. Educate your employees on the importance of energy efficiency. Layout your plans on how to achieve an energy-efficient working environment. Moreover, encourage your employees to share innovative ideas on improving the company’s energy usage efficiency further.
Get an Energy Audit
Getting an energy audit helps your business save energy and money. An energy audit determines your overall energy consumption and assesses the energy efficiency of your business operations. The audit provides information on areas with operational issues that contribute to energy wastage. In addition, the audit suggests strategies to address these issues and increase energy usage efficiency, allowing your company to minimize energy consumption and save energy expenses.
Anyone Can Save Energy
Anyone can save energy from anywhere at any time. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you can adopt energy-saving practices. Whether at home or the office, you can help reduce energy consumption. Whether it is summer or winter, you can find ways to increase energy efficiency.
Begin your energy efficiency journey now. Improve your sustainability knowledge and skills by enrolling in relevant courses at the Sustainability Education Academy (SUSTEMY). We at SUSTEMY offer comprehensive training courses to help you manage your energy usage effectively and efficiently. We also provide certifications that signify your competence after completion of each course. Get started by enrolling at no charge in our first course – Introduction to Energy Auditing! You can also enjoy a 20% discount when you enroll in the full energy audit series. After completing all the courses, get your Investment Grade Energy Auditor IGEA certification that demonstrates you have the capacity to conduct energy audits for major industries worldwide.