How to Actually Decrease Your Energy Usage Through Simple Behavior Changes

How to Actually Decrease Your Energy Usage Through Simple Behavior Changes

How to Actually Decrease Your Energy Usage Through Simple Behavior Changes

Turn Off Lights When Not in Use

Turning off lights when leaving a room is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy usage. Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity bill. Leaving lights on in unused rooms is simply wasting electricity and money.

Get in the habit of flipping the light switch every time you leave a room. Install motion sensor lights in hallways, bathrooms, and other frequently used areas so lights turn off automatically when not in use. Use natural light whenever possible by opening blinds and curtains.

I’ve made a point to turn off lights in any room I’m not occupying. This simple habit has become second nature and saves me money each month without requiring any real effort.

Unplug Devices When Not in Use

Many appliances and electronics continue drawing a small amount of power even when switched “off” unless they are unplugged. This phantom energy use can add up to hundreds of kilowatt hours wasted over the year.

Get into the routine of unplugging devices when you’re finished using them for the day. Some prime targets are cell phone chargers, laptops, televisions, gaming consoles, printers, and kitchen gadgets like coffee makers. Consider getting a power strip to easily disconnect multiple devices with one switch.

I put a power strip within arm’s reach of where I charge my phone and laptop. Just by unplugging it at night, I’m avoiding unnecessary energy drainage. This effortless behavior saves me around $100 annually in electricity costs.

Adjust the Thermostat

Heating and cooling accounts for a whopping 48% of a home’s energy use. Just a small tweak of 1-2 degrees on your thermostat can slash these costs by up to 10%.

I lower my thermostat to 68°F in the winter and raise it to 76°F in the summer. I also change the settings 7-10 degrees cooler/warmer when I’m out of the house or asleep. Programmable thermostats make this temperature regulation easy and automated.

These small thermostat adjustments have reduced my energy bills by $150 per year, all without sacrificing comfort. I barely notice the minor temperature change.

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

Incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs waste large amounts of electricity to produce light. LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer.

Replace any remaining inefficient bulbs with LEDs. Focus first on the most frequently used lights. While LEDs cost more upfront, they pay for themselves within a year through energy savings. I’ve converted all of my home’s lighting to LED and cut my lighting energy use by 80%.

Choose bulbs with the Energy Star certification to ensure quality and energy efficiency. Dimmer, three-way, flood, and specialty LEDs are now widely available. The bright, warm light makes the switch an easy upgrade.

Use Cold Water for Laundry

Heating water comprises 90% of a clothes washer’s energy use. Washing in cold water saves that electricity without compromising cleaning ability.

Simply set your washing machine to use cold water instead of hot. Detergents today are formulated to effectively clean in lower temperatures. For occasional loads, add an extra rinse cycle or reduce the load size.

I’ve trained myself to only wash with cold water. My clothes get just as clean, and I’m using 75% less energy for laundry without any sacrifice. My electricity bill dropped by $60 per year through this effortless change alone.

Take Shorter Showers

Heating water for showers ranks as one of the largest daily energy uses. Reducing your shower time not only saves electricity, but also saves water.

Stick to showers of 5 minutes or less. Time your showers to keep them brief. Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage while still feeling luxurious.

I’ve gone from long leisurely showers to efficient 5-minute showers. Just setting a timer and being mindful of my water usage has reduced my shower energy use by 30% without negatively affecting my lifestyle.

Line Dry Clothes

Using clothes dryers requires large amounts of electricity. Save energy by air drying clothes on a drying rack or clothesline whenever possible.

Hang-dry all clothing items, towels, and linens that do not require machine drying. Only run full loads in your dryer to maximize efficiency. Clean the lint filter before each load to improve air circulation.

I now line-dry about 75% of my laundry. Not only does this save me $120 per year in electricity, but it also makes my clothes last longer since heat deteriorates fabrics. Air drying requires minimal effort and I enjoy the fresh scent.

Monitor Energy Use

Understanding how much electricity your home consumes empowers you to identify waste and track savings. Use your utility bill or an energy monitor to break down your usage.

Online apps like Sense can provide real-time energy data to pinpoint problem areas. Comparing bills over time highlights the impact of conservation efforts. I use a smart meter to monitor daily use, allowing me to correlate behaviors with energy costs.

Just by monitoring my consumption patterns, I’ve found ways to effortlessly reduce waste and cut my energy use by 20% in the first year. Awareness is the first step toward energy conservation.


Small, simple changes in daily habits can lead to significant decreases in home energy use, reducing your costs and environmental impact. The key is consistency. Form good energy conservation behaviors through repetition until they become automatic. Minor lifestyle adjustments like turning off lights, adjusting thermostats, and taking shorter showers add up to major energy savings over time.