10 Ways to Save Energy, Money and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Heating and cooling our homes accounts for more than half of our energy costs, with the average heating and cooling costs ringing up around $1064 annually according to the U.S. Energy Department. This figure is a national average, so we might surmise that our Southern California homes ring up on the higher side of the median.
It makes sense to look at ways to lower our energy consumption, which in turn lowers our energy bills and reduces our carbon footprints.
1. Adjust your thermostat.
Even the smallest adjustment — like 1 to 2 degrees on our thermostats can ring up some serious savings. The recommended temp for your thermostat is 78 degrees during summer months — with raising it a few degrees before bedtime.
2. Keep heat emitting devices, like lamps and TVs, away from the thermostat.
These abnormally raise the temperature — kicking in your cooling or heating. Makes sense, but it’s easy to ignore these “hot” effects.
3. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Yes, they cost a bit more, but they will last six to 15 times longer than standard bulbs.
4. Invest in energy-efficient upgrades.
Think about updating to energy-efficient windows and doors, and revisit your appliances. It might be time to change into an energy star rated fridge, washer, dryer etc. The savings add up!
5. Check out the U.S. Energy Department’s “Home Energy Saver” online tool for calculating your home energy use.
The interactive tool calculates your approximate usage based on the location, size and age of your home. It can be customized to take into account detailed information like the age and size of your major appliances. After you enter your info, the site provides suggestions and energy-saving alternatives.
6. Turn your water heaters to “away” mode.
When you go on vacation or a long business trip, take the time to switch your water heater to the “away” mode. It will still keep the water warm, but won’t be spending extra energy keeping it shower hot. If your water heater does not have this setting, it’s a hint it may not be energy star efficient.
7. Cook fresh food vs. buying frozen or prepared meals.
A freezer loaded with frozen dinners is more energy draining than cooking on your stove or in your oven. When we analyze the steps to produce freezer items, we find it actually costs more in energy resources to freeze, ship, package, and display at the grocery store then when we eat in-season, local foods cooked from scratch.
8. Make a list of your weekly errands.
Sounds simple enough, but how many times do you pass the dry cleaner on your way to work? If you find yourself stopping to do errands three to four days a week, you are a prime candidate for using “The List” strategy for carbon footprint weight loss. You’ll save time, money and energy when you bundle your auto trips.
9. Let your kitchen timer tell you when the cookies are done.
Did you know — when you open your oven door to check on the baking process, up to 25% of the heat escapes. Peak through the glass door or do baking test runs, so the next time you have a good idea when your food is ready.
10. When your electric bill arrives, make a call to a local solar installer like Baker Electric Solar.
Last — but not least, call a qualified solar power company like Baker Electric Home Energy for an energy audit for your home or place of business!