Learn the best ways to save energy in your household.
If you care about the environment and protecting the planet, you’re probably interested in saving energy. But many people ask themselves, “What can I do to save energy at home?”
Energy conservation and climate change have become a constant discussion over the past few years. News articles, advertisements and local political campaigns constantly feature buzzwords like “energy conservation,” “climate crisis,” and “renewable energy.”
Of course, while we’re ready to do our part, it’s not always easy to know what these terms mean for us on an individual basis. We understand the way we live has to change, but what exactly is it all about, what can we do and how can we do it?
Why is energy conservation at home important?
More and more people are becoming passionate about conserving energy in the home, and this boils down to two fundamental reasons: to save money and to reduce the amount of damage caused to the environment.
If more households use less energy (or a cleaner energy source), we'll see a reduction in damage to the ozone layer, and we'll reduce our dependence on fossil fuels which are nonrenewable and harmful to the environment.
However, for this to happen meaningfully, we've all got to do our part.
Living a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle doesn't mean you have to change your way of living drastically — you don't need to wash your clothes by hand or to sit in the dark.
The act of simply taking small steps to live with more awareness helps to undo some of the damage already done to the environment. These steps can be:
- Switching to renewable energy in your household
- Turning off the lights when you leave a room
- Using energy-efficient lightbulbs
- Using less water
- Turning things off rather than leaving them on standby
What wastes the most electricity in the average household?
The answer to this question depends on where you live, but overall, heating and air conditioning are the biggest electricity users. Of course, heating and cooling your home is often essential, but you can cut back by only using your heating and cooling when necessary.
What is the average electric bill for a house and apartment?
According to Finance Guru, in 2017, the average American household pays $111.67 for electricity per month1. This average takes a vast range of homes and families into account, and some states have significantly higher electricity usage than others. Louisiana has the highest average monthly electric bill, while New Mexico's average electricity bill is almost a whole $20 less each month2. We have an article dedicated to the average apartment electric bill if you'd like to learn more.
Does unplugging things save money?
If it's unplugged, it can't use electricity. Even when turned off, many appliances continue to draw power, and the same goes for chargers, whether a device is charging or not.
That means your laptop and phone charger may continue to use power even when they aren't in use. This minor problem can equate to 8% of your home's annual electricity. Of course, this is easily fixed just by unplugging anything that is not in use.
How can I keep my electricity bill down?
Thankfully, saving energy and reducing your electricity bill are intrinsically linked, so if you do one, you'll also do the other.
Here are six ways you can keep your energy bills down:
- Turn off the lights: 5% of your bill is because of lighting, but this can increase if you're not careful. One simple habit to form is to turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Swap out old lights with energy-saving bulbs: Switch to energy-saving light bulbs, such as LEDs. If you use CFL and LEDs, try not to turn them off if you're going to be out of the room for 10 minutes or less because they use more power turning on and off than they do to run for that time.
- Use smart technology: Innovative technology is an upfront investment but will save you money (and energy) in the long run. If you forget, it can turn lights on and off, turn the heating on an hour before you get home and more.
- Upgrade old appliances: Looking for an excuse to replace your old dishwasher? It's likely using a ton more energy than a modern one would. Maybe it’s time to upgrade?
- Switch to an energy supply plan: One of the significant benefits of swapping to an energy supply plan that offers a flat rate is that you never have to worry about seasonal or monthly fluctuations in your bill. Know exactly how much you are paying every month for consistent budgeting.
How can I save more energy at home?
High levels of water use often go hand in hand with high energy use in the home. The way we use our dishwashers and washing machines can make an enormous difference in the amount of energy we use at home.
Here are some more great tips on how to save more energy at home:
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before you use it
- Use any appliance's eco-mode
- Make sure your washing machine is full and set to a cool setting
- Consider drying your clothes outside instead of using the dryer
- Turn off your outside lights at night
How to save energy at home during the summer
Here are six ways to save energy at home during summer:
- Replace your air-con's air filters once every three months
- Ensure your fridge and freezers are fully closed
- Shower with cooler water
- Don't leave lights on during the day
- Turn off your air-con when you’re not in the room
How to save energy at home during the winter
Here are six ways to save energy at home during winter:
- Turn the heat down — keep it at a temperature where you need a sweater
- Put your heating on a timer, so it comes on when you need it
- Turn your heating off when no one's home
- Use your fireplace if you have one
How can we save energy in our daily lives outside of our homes?
Just like getting into the habit of switching off appliances that aren't in use, living a more sustainable lifestyle doesn't have to be complicated.
Here are a few simple switches you can make in your everyday life:
- Use reusable items — single-use plastics and other items take a lot of energy to make
- Encourage your place of work to turn their heating off on the weekends
- Shut down your work computer entirely
- Put your cell phone on energy-saving mode, so you don't have to charge it as frequently
- Recycle whenever possible — most of what we recycle is used to produce more energy
How can I save energy while at work?
If you work in an office and leave your home for several hours during the day, you should do a few things each day to make sure you are not using excess energy. The first and most obvious way to conserve energy at your home when at work is to shut off every light in the house before you leave. Leaving unnecessary lights on in your home during the day is a large contributor to energy waste. Next, unplug all unnecessary appliances before you go. Certain appliances like a toaster oven or blender, for example, should only be plugged in during use. Lastly, you will want to make sure your home computer is shut down and that your television, radio, and other electronic devices are off and not consuming energy while you are away.
Why is it important to save energy?
Living an energy-efficient lifestyle is essential for several reasons. First, it can help keep the cost of climbing energy prices down. Energy companies are frequently raising rates partly to profit and cover costs but also to encourage consumers to reduce usage. Saving energy can also help address air pollution and climate change which are linked to wildfires, increased temperatures, more intense droughts and hurricanes. Saving energy can help our environment while benefiting our personal lives.
Some of the major benefits of an energy-efficient lifestyle include3:
Environmental benefits: Living an energy-efficient lifestyle can help lower greenhouse emissions and other pollutants, which would be highly beneficial to our environment.
Economic benefits: Switching to a renewable energy source can save energy and money. Natural gas prices and volatility will be forced to go down if we save more energy.
Utility system benefits: If energy usage continues to rise, so will the demand for additional generation and transmission assets. By taking advantage of renewable energy plans, baseload and peak demand can be lowered.
Risk management benefits: Energy usage affects fluctuating fuel prices and other risk factors. If we conserve energy, we can reduce uncertainty for several risk factors.
What are the types of energy consumption?
Generally speaking, the United States consumes many types of energy that can be categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary energy consumption includes power plants that either burn fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas, or coal or use a renewable source like solar, wind, or hydroelectric power. The consumption of this energy is then turned into the secondary energy consumption category, electricity. The secondary category of energy consumption, electricity, is what businesses and residences use daily to take part in society4.
How bad is energy consumption?
Energy consumption is necessary. However, the methods we use to create the energy we need can hurt the environment and society. The ways we generate electricity for consumption can contribute to greenhouse emissions and speed up the harmful effects of climate change.
Burning fossil fuels can produce gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which traps the sun's energy on earth, preventing it from being released back into space. This can increase the earth's surface temperature and warm our oceans. When the temperature rises on the land and in the oceans, the frequency and severity of storm systems can skyrocket. The increase in surface temperatures, combined with changes in rain and snowfall patterns, can produce extensive areas that undergo drought-like conditions. Droughts can lead to a decrease in agricultural production, a rise in livestock deaths, and uncontrollable wildfires.
Other adverse consequences of energy consumption include pollution and environmental degradation. The installation of large energy projects can have harmful effects on the environment and the populations in that area. Clearing out land and destroying animal habitats to construct a large energy infrastructure can have devastating effects on a local ecosystem. If there is a pipeline burst or oil spill, it often creates an environmental disaster that can have a large impact on the local environment and community, sometimes for several decades.
What are the three largest sources of energy consumption in the world?
The three largest sources of energy consumption are oil, coal, and gas, with the U.S. being the largest consumer of oil in the world. Oil is used in many industries, and it can be refined into gasoline, which then provides the primary fuel source for the world's transportation. Individuals consume gasoline for their automobiles, and for shipping and receiving goods and services.
Coal is still a large energy-producing fuel source. Many coal power plants still are fully operational, especially in China and India. Steadily, countries are moving away from coal, but for now, it still has a place in the grand scheme of the world's total energy consumption5.
What types of energy do you use in your daily life?
There are many ways that you use energy throughout your daily life, and they can vary depending on what your day-to-day looks like. Do you work at home or in an office? Do you like to keep your living area super cold during the summer? Do you want to listen to music, watch TV, and/or browse the internet in your leisure? Depending on how you live your life, your energy consumption and energy demands can vary.
In the residential sector, the following are major types of energy usage6:
Electricity: In almost every home, electricity is used. While we have seen the average usage per household decline, the demand is still very much present. The slide can be attributed to building insulation and materials improvements, energy-efficient appliances and systems and populations migrating to areas with less heating and cooling demand.
Natural gas: As of 2020, natural gas accounted for 42% of energy consumption in the residential sector. We can use natural gas for space and water heating, cooking, clothes drying and other household activities.
Petroleum: Following natural gas, petroleum was the next most-consumed energy source in 2020 as far as the residential sector is concerned.
Renewable energy sources: In 2020, solar energy, geothermal energy and wood fuels accounted for approximately 7% of energy usage in the residential sector.
Energy usage per household can vary depending on location and climate, the type of home, efficiency of appliances, number of residents in the family, physical characteristics in the house and more. While these factors may vary, so can our actions. As contributing members of society, we should all address ways we can reduce our energy usage. Start focusing on what types of energy you use the most and how you can reduce usage. It would surprise you how just a few simple habits can make a noticeable difference in your usage.
Which month has the highest energy consumption?
Energy consumption in the United States is the highest in July and August, when temperatures peak. Many businesses and residences need to run their air conditioning units throughout the day to ensure their indoor environment is temperature-controlled and safe. With a steady increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of summer heat waves, having a functioning AC is no longer simply a luxury; it is a necessity. It takes a lot of energy to handle all the electricity demands of an active society. When you add in extreme temperatures and increased AC use, it can sometimes strain the electrical grid. This is why, at times, you may experience or hear about rolling blackouts and power failures from electrical grids becoming overloaded.
It is estimated that air-conditioning equipment is used in about 87% of homes within the United States. During July and August, you can see energy consumption gradually rise throughout the day as the temperature increases. Peak energy consumption usually happens between five and six in the evening7.
Why you should consider clean energy for your home
Clean energy (also known as renewable energy) is derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources. It is energy drawn from natural processes that are regenerative over short periods and can't be depleted. The most common renewable energy resources are solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.
Examples of clean energy use in the home may include: using energy-efficient light bulbs, installing solar panels, and insulating your attic.
Energy efficiency can benefit your home in a myriad of ways:
- It can save you money by lowering your electric and gas utility bills.
- It can maintain the temperature of your home, making it more comfortable.
- It improves the indoor air quality that your family and pets breathe every day.
- It maintains the longevity of your home and increases its overall value.
- It may correct several underlying health hazards and safety issues from gas-emitting equipment.
- It can increase your household's level of independence, reducing your home's dependence on oil and coal.
- It can significantly reduce the harmful effect your home has on the environment.
Overall, there are very few — if any — downsides to reducing the amount of energy you use in your home. You'll save money, improve air quality, and you'll be taking steps towards a cleaner and more sustainable lifestyle.
As you learned in this article, there are many ways you can save energy at home. Another way you can save energy at home is by switching to a provider that can save energy while saving you money. As an Inspire member, you can access clean energy for one flat price.
So how does it work?
To get started, visit our homepage and enter your address and/or ZIP Code. Discover the beginning of consistent and predictable monthly energy bills when you become an Inspire member.