15 Habits to Improve Energy Efficiency

Inspire Clean Energy

12 min read

category: Sustainable Living

Whether you're looking to save some money or save the planet, changing your daily energy usage habits is the perfect place to start. The electricity we use to power our homes every day can have a much bigger impact on the health of our planet than most of us realize. Luckily, with just a few simple habit changes, you can make a big impact. Here are 15 habits that will help you improve your home's energy efficiency every day.

1. Draw the blinds during the day.

Keep the hot sun from turning your home into a greenhouse by using the blinds on your windows to stop the heat from coming into your home and keep the cool air in.

2. Set your thermostat to 85 when you’re out and 78 when you’re in.

During hot summer days while you are out and about, try keeping your thermostat set to 85 degrees. When you’re hanging out at home, 78 degrees is the optimal temperature for comfort and energy efficiency.

3. Run your ceiling fans clockwise.

Instead of using an air conditioner, try running your ceiling fans clockwise when it’s hot to pull warm air up and push cool air down. To save some extra power, remember to turn all ceiling fans off when you leave your home.

4. Nix the game console for viewing entertainment.

If you're a streaming video fan, be sure not to watch those movies using your video game console. They use 45 times the amount of electricity that a smart TV does — and that adds up fast (for the environment and your wallet).

5. Load up your washer.

Only use your washing machine when you have a full load. Small loads waste water and precious energy.

6. Air dry your clothing.

Whenever possible, air dry your clothes. Not only will you save energy, but the fabric will last longer and look crisper.

7. Cut that dish drying cycle short.

Let your dishes air dry instead of using the drying cycle on your dishwasher. You can do this by simply turning it off before it starts. Believe it or not, this simple change has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars a year.

8. Turn “sleep mode” on.

Screensavers on your computer can cost you in energy over time. Turn on the sleep mode instead.

9. Limit your use of portable heaters.

One portable heater can cost almost 20 cents an hour to run. The cost of using one for 8 hours a day everyday can cost you close to $50 a month. And there's nothing efficient about that.

10. Watch your refrigerator temperature.

The optimal temperature to keep your fridge at is between 30 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping it any lower will waste unneccessary energy.

11. Unplug your battery charger.

Have a battery charger for your phone, tablet, or computer? Remember to unplug it when you're not charging these items, or when the batters are fully charged. This will do wonders for the life of your battery and save a lot of energy.

12. Open your blinds and curtains on cold days.

In the winter time, the sun is your best friend. If you find yourself feeling tempted to grab a heater on a cold, try throwing open your blinds first to let the sun rays heat the interior of your house. It can make a bigger difference than you'd think.

13. Get rid of pans with loose fitting lids.

Tight fitting lids on pots and pans can greatly reduce the energy needed to cook a meal. Make sure yours fit properly to cut heat loss, as this will save energy and reduce your cooking time so you can enjoy your favorite meals sooner.

14. Washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot water.

This simple change can add up to big time energy and money savings over time.

15. Make the most of your microwave.

Microwaves use up to 80% less energy that their stove counterparts. So instead of using the stove to reheat your leftovers, give your microwave its time to shine.

What is the most energy-efficient form of heating?

About 30% of your utilities cover heating your home, making high-efficiency heating systems a smart buy. Heat pumps are usually the most high-efficiency method of heating a home, but this depends on location. They function by catching heat and transporting it from one location to another. For example, you can extract heat from your home in the summer to offer cooling and bring in subterranean heat into the home to provide heating in the winter.

Heat pumps can be incredibly efficient, producing up to four times the energy it consumes. As a result, heat pumps are a wonderful choice for a moderate climate. Because of their exceptional efficiency, they utilize less electricity while providing adequate heating.

Heat pumps are very safe to use, as they do not emit dangerous chemicals like carbon monoxide. Additionally, heat pumps are also very environmentally friendly. They do not emit exhaust fumes that are harmful to the environment since they do not burn fossil fuels to generate heat.

Using a heat pump can raise your electric bill but will subsequently lower your gas bill. As with all appliances, look for the Energy Star certification as these products use less energy in general. The goal of heat pumps is to generate the most heat with the least amount of fuel, and heat pumps are currently the best option1.

What are the most energy-efficient heating and cooling systems?

As mentioned, heat pumps are effective for heating and cooling, and with their ability to extract temperatures without having to create them themselves, they are currently the most efficient heating and cooling system. Geothermal heat pump systems run at lower rates for longer periods, ensuring that the home is constantly comfortable throughout the year2.

Is electric heat efficient?

Heating can be either inefficient or high efficient, depending on the product or method. In the case of electric heaters, they are incredibly efficient. For example, electric resistance heating, like electric furnaces, is the form of heating that turns electricity into heat. In the sense that all incoming electric energy is transformed to heat, electric resistance heating is 100% energy-efficient. Although, most of the electricity is generated by coal, gas, or oil generators, which convert only around 30% of the energy from the fuel into electricity. Electric heat is frequently more expensive than heat produced using combustion equipment due to electricity generating and transmission losses.

Heat pumps are better for electric resistance heating if electricity is the only option and can lower the electricity by half compared to resistance heating. There may be certain exceptions, such as in locations where the cost of heating with electric resistance is negligible. If it is not feasible to extend the existing heating system, electric resistance heating may be a viable option3.

What is the most energy-efficient method of cooking?

When choosing a new stovetop, most individuals have a strong preference for gas, electric, or induction. This is frequently based on familiarity rather than what is energy efficient. Whenever you read about energy-efficient cooking solutions, the debate over gas vs. electric constantly arises.

The difference in energy use is rather small, especially now that induction cooking has brought electricity up to speed with gas. Whenever possible, use smaller appliances like toaster ovens to reduce energy usage from larger appliances.

Natural gas, a fossil fuel, can pollute the environment, but electricity comes from coal, making them very similar. Furthermore, gas creates ambient heat, increasing the electricity usage of air conditioners. If you are willing to source your electricity from solar panels to your stove, electricity could be a much better option.

Moreover, because hot air is continuously circulated in convection ovens, they are more energy-efficient than conventional ovens, allowing you to reduce cooking temperatures and times. A convection oven is expected to consume 20% less energy than traditional ovens. If you add a self-cleaning model with substantially more insulation, you've got yourself a fairly efficient cooking machine4.

What cooking appliance uses the least electricity?

You may be surprised to know the microwave is the most efficient way to heat or cook food because it speeds up the cooking process and reduces the need for excessive gas or electricity. In addition, there's no waiting for the microwave to warm up – it reaches temperature almost instantly, and food cooks in a fraction of the time. As a result, microwaves consistently outperform ovens when heating food.

Slow cookers are also energy-efficient because they use less wattage. Smaller appliances like air fryers are often highly energy-efficient because they use less electricity and cook food faster. Even convection ovens use less energy and reduce the heat that requires air conditioning to cool down. Again, if you're are looking for energy efficiency, choose as small of an appliance as possible for your cooking needs.

How much money do energy-efficient washers and dryers save?

High-efficiency washers conserve energy by reducing hot water use. The less water in use, the quicker the washer can heat the water for cleaning. Older washers typically used too much water to wash a single load, but energy-efficient options can use much less water and can save you over a couple of hundred dollars a year, depending on your model and usage. In addition, you can save more energy by using cold water as the machine has to use energy to heat water and choosing a machine that weighs clothing to determine the right amount of water. Also, use the highest spin cycle possible to further reduce water usage and lessen the energy usage for the dryer.

As for dryers, however, they have yet to become highly efficient and often consume more energy than any other appliance in the home. A dryer with a dry sensor can save some energy as it will stop drying when the clothes are dry. Energy-efficiency rated dryers with smart features can reduce energy by up to 20%5.

What is the most energy-efficient washer and dryer?

The most energy-efficient washer and dryer are the options with the Energy Star certification. Consider getting front load machines to circulate air and heat better, allowing for more efficiency. Also, look for the HE symbol on washers and dryers, which stands for 'High-Efficiency', as these are made to consume less energy to wash and dry.

Are high-efficiency washers better than regular washers?

Yes, a new high-efficiency washer will save you so much money in the long run that it'll be like getting the matching dryer for free. High-efficiency washers are less expensive to run since they use less water, energy, and detergent. Most high-efficiency washers are front-loaders, which consume roughly half as much as a regular washer.

The water savings are mostly attributable to the design of high-efficiency washers: high-efficiency units use a minimal amount of water that sits in the bottom of the tub rather than filling a large internal tub to the high-water mark. A high-efficiency washer then tumbles its contents horizontally rather than grinding them through an agitating motion to clean them — instead, the load is washed and rinsed as it spins through the water.

You'll save money on your utility costs if you use less water and energy. In fact, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, a high-efficiency washer will have one-third the operational costs of a top-loading washer. Overall, high-efficiency washers are worth the upfront cost6.

How can electronics save energy?

Unplugging goods when not in use is the easiest way to eliminate power losses. When your portable devices aren't being charged, you can unplug the chargers to reduce wasted energy. When you connect electronics to a power strip with an on/off switch, you can cut off all electricity to the devices with one flip of the switch.

Devices like power meters that can correctly measure power use even at very low power levels are now available at reasonable prices. These devices can assist you in identifying the primary culprits in your home's electronics collection as well as cost-cutting alternatives. Knowing what electronics are using the most energy can help you reduce the amount of energy your home consumes7.

What are some energy-efficient devices?

Look for Energy Star electronics for your office or use laptops and tablets as they do not need to charge overnight. Always use energy-saving modes on electronics that need to stay plugged into an outlet and look for options with programmable settings, smart sockets, and eco chargers8. For more information, visit our page dedicated to the best shopping tips for buying energy-efficient appliances.

Using Energy Star appliances is a great start to becoming more energy-efficient. Not only are they effective, but they are easy to implement. If you’re looking for another easy way to improve your energy habits, then consider switching to Inspire. With a 100% clean energy supply plan for your home, and it only takes a few minutes.

To get started, visit our homepage and enter your address and/or ZIP Code. If Inspire’s clean energy supply plans are available in your area, you can proceed with linking your utility and discover the beginning of consistent and predictable monthly energy bills.

Access clean energy for one flat monthly price—subscribe today.

  1. forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/most-efficient-heating-systems
  2. waterfurnace.com/residential/about-geothermal
  3. energy.gov/energysaver/electric-resistance-heating
  4. motherearthnews.com/sustainable-living/green-homes/options-for-energy-efficient-cooking-zbcz1412
  5. homeselfe.com/energy-efficient-washer-dryers-work
  6. home.howstuffworks.com/high-efficiency-washers-worth-expense.htm
  7. smarterhouse.org/home-electronics/energy-saving-tips
  8. saveonenergy.com/learning-center/post/best-energy-saving-gadgets-for-your-home

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