As consumers and businesses become increasingly conscious of the environment, many are looking for ways to make their energy consumption more sustainable. This can be done by reducing carbon footprints and using less fossil fuels.
Buying energy efficient appliances, like LED bulbs that use 75% less electricity and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, is one easy way to cut energy usage. Unplugging electronics, especially chargers, helps avoid phantom power draw.
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Changing your carbon footprint is a key element of sustainability. Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, that you produce throughout your life. These gases cause the greenhouse effect, which is a natural phenomenon that warms the planet.
A reduced carbon footprint reduces air pollution, helps protect wildlife and habitats, and can save money. Some ways to reduce your carbon footprint include purchasing energy-efficient equipment certified by ENERGY STAR, programming thermostats so that they only run during working hours, and unplugging electronics at the end of each day. Energy efficiency improvements also limit the amount of electricity placed on the grid at one time, reducing congestion and stress that can lead to power disruptions.
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Renewable energy comes from sustainable sources, such as wind and solar, that do not produce harmful emissions. Your organization can make this switch by purchasing a power-purchase agreement with a renewable source or building solar panels on your corporate campus.
2. Reduce Your Water Use
Using less water and energy in our homes and businesses helps to prevent air pollution, keep our local rivers, bays and estuaries clean, reduce the amount of energy needed to pump and heat water, and ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water. Water and energy efficiency measures are also a great way to lower household bills.
Fossil fuel-powered power plants produce air pollution that harms public health and causes breathing problems, neurological damage and premature death. Switching to sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar, reduces these risks.
Reducing your water footprint also protects a limited resource that is being consumed faster than it can be replenished. It is important to reduce the water use of our buildings, factories, and farms by reducing energy consumption, upgrading equipment, implementing water-saving technologies, and promoting sustainable food and water production practices.
While it may seem difficult to do, reducing our water usage doesn’t have to cost much. For example, replacing old toilets with high-efficiency models can save about 30 percent of indoor water usage. And by checking and fixing leaks, homeowners can save even more. Choosing appliances that are energy and water efficient, like dishwashers and washing machines, is another easy way to make a difference.
3. Reduce Your Electricity Use
Many people use a lot of electricity, and reducing their energy usage can have a big impact. It will also cut the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced, which will help to reduce climate change and its impacts on weather patterns and biodiversity.
There are a few easy ways to make your electricity more sustainable, including switching to a green energy provider and using energy-efficient appliances. You can also install smart meters to monitor your energy consumption and ensure you are paying for the right amount of energy.
Unplugging electronics when not in use can also save a lot of electricity. This is because many electronics continue to consume power even when they are turned off, a phenomenon known as “phantom load.” Unplugging devices or using a power strip can help prevent this from happening.
Other simple things that can make a difference include recycling (as much as possible) and composting. These actions conserve resources and help to reduce greenhouse gases by avoiding the need to mine, manufacture, and transport new materials. It is also a good idea to use the most efficient appliances you can, such as energy-efficient light bulbs and microwaves.
4. Reduce Your Gas Use
Natural gas is an incredibly popular energy source for many homes. It can be used to heat a home, power an oven and stove, run a clothes dryer and more. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive energy sources, especially in winter.
The reason for this is simple supply and demand – natural gas is a commodity that is competed for by both consumers and electric power plants. As the demand for natural gas increases, so does the price.
Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your natural gas usage and save money according to this energy comparison. For example, you can switch to a slow cooker if you use your oven or stove often, as these appliances are much more energy efficient than traditional ones. Additionally, you can seal air leaks in your home to prevent heat from escaping. This can be as simple as caulking around window frames or using silicone strips, and can save you a day’s worth of work on your gas bill each year.
You can also turn off the heat when you’re away from home, and consider investing in a smart thermostat. Finally, you can make your laundry less energy-intensive by washing with cold water and drying it outdoors rather than indoors.
5. Reduce Your Waste
Creating less waste is one of the most important things you can do for your environment and for yourself. Although recycling and composting are great, the best way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. The waste that you do create can be reduced by using reusable items such as shopping bags, a water bottle, a travel mug, and food containers, by avoiding single-use plastics and paper goods like straws and napkins, and by bringing your own utensils to restaurants when eating out.
Keeping your home in good condition will also help to reduce waste by reducing heating and cooling bills. You can do this by switching to a green energy provider, making sure your house is properly insulated, and using low-energy light bulbs.
Similarly, if you have old clothes or furniture that you no longer use, consider donating them rather than throwing them away. This is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your bank account. Likewise, rather than buying new electronics or appliances when they break down, repair them instead. This will encourage a culture of resourcefulness and craftsmanship and will help to minimize the amount of waste that goes into landfills.
6. Reduce Your Appliance Use
Changing your behavior is one of the easiest ways to make energy consumption more sustainable. Turning off lights when leaving a room is a classic way to reduce electricity use, but there are many other small changes that can add up to big savings.
Replacing appliances that use the most electricity with more efficient models is another easy way to cut energy usage. For example, newer Energy Star refrigerators and dishwashers use less electricity than older models. Likewise, laundry machines that use a heat pump can save you up to $500 per year on utility bills.
Unplugging devices and using a power-saving setting on electronic media devices also dramatically cuts their power usage. Alternatively, you can ask your utility provider about time-of-use rate plans to pay lower rates during the day or at night when demand is low.
Other easy ways to cut electricity usage are installing smart home thermostats and sealing cracks and leaks around the house. Increasing your home’s insulation can also cut your heating and cooling costs. Lastly, switching from incandescent bulbs to LEDs can save you up to 80% on your household electricity bill.
7. Increase Your Insulation
With rising energy costs, global warming, and air pollution all on the rise, it is more important than ever to take steps to reduce your energy consumption. The good news is that there are a number of simple habits, easy home improvements and smart buying tips you can do to make your household more sustainable.
Maximizing your home insulation is one of the most effective ways to cut down on your heating bills. Proper home insulation will keep the heat in and the cold out, making your home more comfortable all year round.
Adding insulation is a great way to reduce your energy bill, and it can often pay for itself in a few years. The best place to start is the attic, as heat rises and this is where most of the lost heat in a home occurs. Adding more insulation here can be as easy as adding roll insulation to the attic or spray foaming the area if there is no open space. If you live in a hot climate, adding a radiant barrier to your attic can help with cooling bills too.
Other ways to improve your home’s insulation include switching to LED light bulbs, washing your clothes in cold water, and insulating your windows, doors and walls. You should also try to unplug anything you aren’t using, and buy appliances with an energy-efficient rating.