How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Using Less Electricity

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Using Less Electricity

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Using Less Electricity

Monitor and reduce home energy use

The first step I take to reduce my electricity usage is to monitor my home’s energy use. I do this by reading my electricity bill closely each month to see my usage and cost. I also utilize a home energy monitor, which shows real-time data on energy use. This allows me to see what appliances and electronics are using the most energy so I can target reductions.

There are several ways I work to decrease home electricity consumption:

  • Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. This eliminates “phantom” draw, which accounts for 5-10% of home energy use. I unplug chargers, appliances like the coffee maker and toaster, and electronics that go into standby mode.

  • Use power strips. I plug devices into power strips that I can turn off when not needed. This makes it easy to completely disconnect multiple devices with the flip of a switch.

  • Shift usage of major appliances. I run the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer at night to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates. I also avoid using multiple large appliances simultaneously.

  • Change incandescent light bulbs. Replacing old-fashioned bulbs with LEDs cuts lighting energy use by 75%. I have swapped out all accessible bulbs in my home.

  • Lower the thermostat. I keep my home at 78°F in summer and 68°F in winter. Turning down heating and cooling 1° saves up to 3% on bills. I also turn down the thermostat when away from home.

  • Seal air leaks. I weatherstrip and caulk around windows and doors to prevent drafts. Stopping air leaks makes heating and cooling systems run less often. I also ensure insulation in walls and attics meets current standards.

Conserve electricity through appliance use

There are small adjustments I make in my major appliance usage that result in significant electricity savings:

  • Use cold water cycles on the clothes washer when possible and always wash full loads. Washing in cold water cuts the electricity used for heating water by 75% per load.

  • Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher drying cycle. Letting dishes drip dry avoids added energy use. I do run full loads when using my dishwasher to maximize efficiency.

  • Cook efficiently by using lids on pots and pans and turning burners off a few minutes before food is done. Using smaller appliances like slow cookers, pressure cookers, and microwaves also cuts down on stove and oven time.

  • Clean or replace filters on heating, cooling, and ventilation systems monthly to allow proper airflow and reduce runtimes. A dirty air filter makes the system work harder.

  • Defrost refrigerators and freezers regularly to prevent ice buildup, which forces the compressor to run longer. I manually defrost once every 3 months.

Practice energy conservation daily

Forming new electricity-saving habits take time but eventually become second nature:

  • I turn off lights when leaving a room, using natural light whenever possible. Task lighting also helps reduce general overhead lighting needs.

  • Electronics like TVs, stereos, and computers are powered down completely when not in use, even for short periods. I enable sleep settings to cut phantom draw.

  • I limit hot water use by taking shorter showers of 5 minutes or less, only running full loads of laundry, and fixing any leaky faucets. Water heating accounts for 14% of home energy bills.

  • I utilize smart power strips that can sense when a device is off and automatically cut power to peripheral devices. These are ideal for home entertainment systems and office equipment.

  • Programmable thermostats adjust heating and cooling to match my schedule so energy isn’t wasted when I’m asleep or away. I program mine for 7-day flexibility.

Forming new electricity-saving habits takes time but eventually become second nature. The small daily actions add up to big energy savings. My home electricity use has decreased by 20% following these conservation steps. Lower utility bills and reduced environmental impact make the effort worthwhile.