Energy Conservation Techniques: Optimizing Energy Savings

by | Advice, Saving Energy

If you like the idea of saving money on your energy bills without having to make significant sacrifices, we have good news. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the average American could save as much as $600 each year just by improving home efficiency, which plays a significant role in energy conservation.

Energy conservation is when you make an effort to use less total energy. You do this by increasing your energy efficiency and decreasing your energy consumption to limit wasted energy. Often, when you take proper energy conservation measures, you can reduce your energy bills and environmental impact without making any drastic lifestyle changes.

How Do I Get Started With Energy Conservation?

There are countless methods for saving energy at home, at work, on the road, and in your everyday life. Perhaps not all energy conservation measures will work for you, and that’s OK. With so many options, it’s simple to choose the best methods that suit your unique lifestyle. With just a few techniques, you’ll be well on your way to making a positive impact on your pocketbook and the environment.

To get rolling, keep reading to learn more details about simple energy conservation techniques that can make the biggest difference. But first, take a look at the tips and tricks on our convenient checklist below. These practical and useful tips can help you achieve energy savings almost immediately.

Energy Conservation Checklist: 66 Top Tips and Tricks for Energy Savings

Energy Conservation Checklist Tips and Tricks Savings Illustrationsource

Use this convenient checklist to kickstart your journey towards discovering the many benefits of energy conservation. Choose your favorites or try them all.

  1. Perform a personal energy audit.
  2. Avoid energy use as much as you’re able during your energy provider’s peak hours.
  3. Turn off the lights and television when not in use.
  4. Skip using the lights, and open your blinds and shades to enjoy natural sunlight instead.
  5. Unplug electronics, devices, Wi-Fi routers, and chargers when not in use.
  6. Unplug electronics as soon as they reach 100% charge.
  7. Don’t leave anything charging overnight.
  8. Use power strips to make it easier to turn multiple items on and off.
  9. Place child safety plugs in unused electric outlets to avoid energy seepage.
  10. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  11. Use dimmers on existing incandescent light bulbs when possible.
  12. Use ceiling fans to help circulate air year-round.
  13. Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower in the winter.
  14. Set the thermostat on 78 degrees or warmer in the summer.
  15. Install a programmable or smart thermostat.
  16. Plant shade trees strategically around your home to help maintain temperature control.
  17. Close your window coverings on hot sunny days to keep the sun’s thermal energy heat out.
  18. Open window coverings on cold sunny days to allow the sun’s warmth to provide heat.
  19. Cut back on moisture-producing activities, such as cooking, doing the laundry, or bathing when cooling your home.
  20. Keep your water heater thermostat set between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  21. Wrapping your water heater in a water blanket allows the water to maintain its temperature longer and use less energy when it needs to heat up again.
  22. Insulate your hot water pipes.
  23. Use the cold water cycle to wash laundry. (Your clothes will be just as clean!)
  24. Wash only full laundry loads.
  25. Skip the clothes dryer on warm, sunny days and instead hang your laundry out to dry in the breeze on a clothesline.
  26. Before each new load, clean your dryer’s lint trap to maintain energy efficiency.
  27. Replace or clean your cooling system and heating system air filters every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  28. Clean your air ducts every few years.
  29. Grill instead of cooking inside.
  30. Use small appliances instead of the oven.
  31. Use a pot with a lid instead of a kettle to boil water. (This saves time and energy!)
  32. Only boil the necessary amount of water to save energy.
  33. Replace old appliances with energy-efficient products.
  34. Look for signs of improper ventilation around fuel-based appliances.
  35. Use your dishwasher over hand washing to save gallons of water each day.
  36. Run your dishwasher with full loads on an eco-wash setting.
  37. Air dry your dishwasher items by opening the door.
  38. Limit how much you open your refrigerator door to reduce how much energy it has to use to cool back down.
  39. Keep your refrigerator three-quarters full so air circulates properly for best efficiency.
  40. Keep your refrigerator’s coils dust-free to keep it running efficiently.
  41. Insulate your attic and walls to minimize air leaks.
  42. Seal all of the cracks and gaps around your windows and doors with caulk and weather stripping to eliminate air leaks.
  43. Repair plumbing problems to limit wasted water.
  44. Install dual-flow toilets to decrease how much water you use per flush.
  45. Install water-saving low-flow showerheads to save hot water.
  46. Take showers instead of baths.
  47. Limit your showers to 10 minutes or shower for one minute less than usual.
  48. While you’re brushing your teeth and shaving, turn off the water.
  49. Drive a smaller vehicle with better gas mileage or purchase a hybrid or electric car for a substantial reduction in your energy costs and emission output.
  50. Carpool or use public transportation.
  51. Ride your bicycle or, if you can, walk instead of drive.
  52. Increase the movement efficiency of your car by maintaining your tire’s air pressure.
  53. Achieve the best gas mileage by clearing heavy items from your trunk and backseat to avoid being weighed down.
  54. Keep regular maintenance appointments to keep your car performing at its best.
  55. Save your vehicle from overworking by installing winter tires, which increases efficiency and mileage in cold climates.
  56. Use a parking garage when possible to keep your car warmer in cold climates and cooler in hot climates.
  57. Avoid warming up your vehicle in idle as it wastes gas and increases vehicle emissions. Driving immediately after turning on the ignition warms your car up just as well.
  58. Don’t waste gas by sitting in traffic; instead, find alternate routes when possible.
  59. When using your car’s heat, regulate it throughout and turn it down slowly over time. Or redirect it to the front and back defoggers.
  60. Avoid driving faster than posted highway limits to maintain fuel efficiency.
  61. Skip the car air conditioning when you can use the wind or cooler air fan instead.
  62. If the car air conditioning is a must-have, try to have it regulated throughout your entire vehicle and raise the temperature over time when you’re ready.
  63. Separate your compost and recycling materials from your garbage and check earth911.com to find a recycling center near you.
  64. Use recyclable products or biodegradable materials.
  65. When shopping, bring reusable bags with you.
  66. Consider using renewable energy sources for your home, workplace, and vehicle.

The Best Way To Start Energy Management: Perform an Energy Audit

Energy-Efficient Products and Appliancessource

An energy audit helps you to see the entire picture of your energy usage. During an audit you can find the problem areas and fixes necessary to live more efficiently and comfortably. This is your first step towards energy conservation. Start with a self-assessment of your home, workplace, vehicle, and lifestyle. Then, if you’d like you can always hire a professional for a more thorough energy audit of your home.

  • During an energy audit, look around your home, workplace, and car while thinking about your energy habits and lifestyle choices. You’re looking for sources of potential energy waste. Use the free checklist guide above to help you out.
  • During the audit, decide which adjustments work well for your lifestyle and personal happiness.
  • Write down everything that you’re willing and able to do, plus the things you might consider doing at some point. Don’t worry; you won’t be making any immediate changes during the audit. Think of this as your time to evaluate and think about your options.
  • Go back to evaluate your list and set a timeline for tackling each project.

You may be quite surprised by how many tasks you can check off right away with practically no effort at all. By taking it one or two steps at a time, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed. In fact, you’ll be feeling terrific about your energy conservation choices, and it won’t be long before you’re enjoying lower energy bills as well.

What Super Simple Energy Conservation Techniques Can I Try Right Away?

Here’s more information on a few of the most impactful actions that are so simple you can do them now and start lowering your energy consumption right away.

Energy Conservation Techniques Home Cookingsource

Utilize Power Strips to Simplify Energy Conservation

We all know that it’s important to turn off the lights and TV when we leave the room. But did you know it’s also vital to unplug your electronics, chargers, Wi-Fi router, and other devices that are not in use? You can keep this task relatively simple when you use power strips, which gives you the ability to turn off multiple items simultaneously.

Leaving power strips turned on around the clock is estimated to cost U.S. consumers $11 billion per year in energy costs through leaking energy (also known as phantom energy) by supplying power to the little lights on your appliances. Completely turning them off or unplugging them avoids this waste. The good news is, using power strips makes it quicker and easier to turn off or unplug multiple items all at once.

Save Energy With Responsible Laundering

When it comes to washing your laundry, only run full loads and skip the hot water cycle. Clothes don’t require heat for sanitation. Plus, using cold water on your laundry is gentler on your clothes. Since the cold water cycle doesn’t tap into the water heater, which is a big part of your energy bill, it uses less energy. When it comes to doing laundry, it’s best to opt for your washer’s cold water cycle when you can.

After your laundry is clean, it’s time to dry it. Cleaning the dryer’s lint trap before running each load will help to maintain the machine’s energy efficiency. Using dryer balls helps with this too. The dryer balls will make space between the clothes, allowing the air to circulate through. The better the air circulates, the faster your laundry will dry — and the faster it dries, the less energy your dryer will use. Of course, skipping the dryer altogether is even better. On warm and sunny days with a nice breeze, take advantage of Mother Nature and hang your laundry out to dry on a clothing line.

When It’s Cooking Time, Skip the Oven

In the kitchen, choose to use a slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven, or other smaller appliances instead of a conventional oven when it makes sense. Smaller appliances use less energy than what a full-size oven uses.

When cooling your home, cut back on activities that produce moisture, such as cooking, doing the laundry, or bathing for best efficiency. If it’s time to prepare a meal, keep it cool inside by opting to grill outside when possible.

Use Your Window Coverings for More Than Just Privacy

Did you know that your window coverings have hidden uses? That’s right — they’re not just for privacy and decor. They can also help in regulating your home or office’s temperature. Opening your blinds and shades during cold weather so the sun can shine inside will bring warmth from the sun’s thermal energy. As a bonus, there’s even a good chance you’ll be able to use the sun’s natural light instead of turning your lights on.

However, if it’s cold and gloomy outside, keep those window coverings drawn. You’ll also want to keep those curtains and blinds shut when the sun is beating down on a hot day. Keeping that thermal energy out will help in maintaining a cool home.

How Can I Improve My Energy Efficiency?

Energy Efficiency Illustrationsource

Although energy efficiency and energy conservation are both ways to lower energy consumption, they are a bit different from each other. Changing how we do things to limit our energy use, as stated above, is energy conservation. Finding ways to use less energy without altering the task at hand is what we call energy efficiency. That sounds pretty ideal, don’t you think? Let’s review some details on energy efficiency techniques to consider.

Change Your Light Bulbs

Changing Lighbulbs Energy Efficiency Photosource

Switching your light bulbs from the traditional incandescent light bulbs or halogen bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, or smart bulbs will improve your energy efficiency. With energy-efficient light bulbs, you’re using less energy while using your lights the same amount.

How does that work? Well, if you’re looking to get the same amount of light that you would from a 60-watt incandescent light bulb, you would only need a 12-watt (W) LED bulb. That’s a pretty substantial difference, and it’s an effortless way to improve your energy efficiency.

Ceiling Fans Maintain Proper Airflow Circulation

Airflow Circulation and Ceiling Fansource

Strategically placing ceiling fans throughout your home will drastically help your air conditioner and heating system’s efficiency. On warm days, set your ceiling fan blades to spin counterclockwise. Spinning the blades in this direction pushes air down, creating a cool breeze and helping your air conditioner’s efficiency.

During cold air months, there is a switch that you can flip to make your fans spin clockwise. Keep your fans set on low to circulate the warm air that rises naturally to the ceiling. Circulating your air can save up to 15% on those energy bills. An ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fan saves you even more since they are 20% more efficient than the conventional models.

Install a Programmable Thermostat for Stress-Free Temperature Control

Programmable Thermostat Temperature Controlsource

Lowering your thermostat by 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours each day will save up to 10% annually on your energy costs. The closer you keep your home’s temperature to the temperature outside, the more energy you’ll save.

You can also avoid the hassle of manually changing your thermostat throughout each day by setting automatic temperature adjustments. You can literally set it and, well, forget it. Your house can be cooler overnight when you’re sleeping and back to a comfortable temperature by the time you’re getting out of bed in the morning. You can also use energy less when you’re not going to be home. Set your thermostat so the temperature in your home is lower while you’re away but comfortable before you get home.

Simplify temperature regulation further by installing a smart thermostat. Did you forget to turn off the lights before leaving home? With a smart thermostat, it’s easy to control your lights, adjust your home’s temperature, and check your energy use patterns from anywhere in the world. Simply manage your smart thermometer with an app on your smart device.

Replace Outdated Baseline Model Appliances With Energy-Efficient Products

Energy Management Audit - Magnifying glass photosource

Finding energy-efficient appliances is fairly straightforward these days. All you have to do is look at the product to verify that it has an ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR is a valuable program backed by the United States government and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They place labels on products that meet high energy efficiency standards.

The ENERGY STAR program lends an unbiased, simple, and credible way for consumers to make well-informed purchases. Kitchen appliances, heating and cooling systems, ceiling fans, and washers and dryers are just a few of the most vital energy-efficient appliances to consider purchasing.

Consider a Renewable Energy Source Retrofit

Renewable Energy Solar Installation at Homesource

Don’t overlook the opportunity to incorporate a renewable energy system that provides long-term energy efficiency. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels aren’t just for new buildings. It’s possible to retrofit existing structures as well.

Renewable energy resources are substitutes for fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels give off carbon dioxide emissions and other climate change causing emissions. Generally speaking, renewable energy has a low environmental impact. Using these greener, cleaner energy solutions, also known as practicing sustainability, reduces greenhouse gas emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Plus, unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy occurs through a natural process, meaning it’s inexhaustible since it’s regenerated indefinitely.

Some energy providers even offer eco-friendly plans. Here, you have the choice to offset your home energy use with a renewable energy plan that provides credits. When you add a green energy component to your plan, the offset amount is 100% or 50%.

Additional energy savings are often offered through state and government tax credits and rebates. A few of the more popular renewable energy sources for residential consumers are solar energy systems, cool roofs, wind turbines, and hydropower generation.

Take This Final Step Toward a Sustainable Lifestyle With Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation Sustainable Lifestylesource

As the final step towards launching your new energy conservation lifestyle, take a few moments to browse our energy savings marketplace. This marketplace is where you can compare energy plans and other options that may be available to you. With such a wide range of simple and easy-to-incorporate energy conservation techniques, you can quickly reduce your energy footprint while at home, at work, in transit, and at play. You’ll be saving energy and money in no time. Happy savings!

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