How to Reduce Your Energy Usage Without Making Any Major Lifestyle Changes
Audit Your Home’s Energy Use
The first step is to understand where and how you are using energy in your home. There are a few ways to do this:
Request an energy audit from your utility company. Many utility companies will send out experts to assess your home’s energy efficiency and provide recommendations on improvements. This is often a free or low-cost service.
Use an online energy audit tool. Sites like EnergyStar.gov have questionnaires you can fill out about your home to get an estimate of its energy use and savings opportunities.
Conduct your own simple audit. Go room by room and note what appliances you have, your lighting, and your insulation situation. Pay attention to when and how long you use energy-hogging items like your HVAC system. Look for drafts and leaks around doors and windows.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Replacing your existing bulbs with LED lighting is one of the fastest ways to reduce energy usage. LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Some easy tips:
- Replace your most frequently used bulbs first.
- Use LEDs in hard-to-reach fixtures like high ceilings.
- Use LEDs in outdoor fixtures for maximum savings.
- Dimmers and motion sensors help LEDs save even more energy.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Heating and cooling account for close to half of a home’s energy use. Setting your thermostat to an efficient temperature can have a big impact.
- In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F (20°C) while you’re awake and 60°F (15.5°C) while you’re asleep or away.
- In the summer, keep your home around 78°F (25.5°C) with the AC on. Turn it up to 85°F (29°C) when not in use.
- Get a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures for you.
- Ensure your HVAC system is serviced yearly for maximum efficiency.
Weatherize Your Home
Sealing any cracks and gaps that allow air leaks will help your home retain heated or cooled air. This helps lower energy demand.
- Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and doors. Pay special attention to the attic and basement.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and walls for improved retention of conditioned air.
- Install storm windows over single-pane windows for an extra barrier against weather.
Change How You Use Appliances
Simple changes in how you use energy-guzzling appliances can have an impact over time:
- Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
- Air dry dishes instead of using the heated dry cycle.
- Wash clothes in cold water. Hot water accounts for 90% of the energy your machine uses.
- Turn off computers and electronics when not in use.
- Unplug chargers when devices are fully charged.
Shift Your Energy Use
Consider shifting some of your high-energy activities to times when demand on the grid is lower. This saves you money in the long run.
- Run appliances at night instead of during peak afternoon hours when possible.
- Preheat your oven early before dinner time hits.
- Turn on fans and ventilation in the cooler morning rather than using AC in the hottest part of the day.
With some low-effort tweaks, you can reduce your home’s energy usage and your bills. The key is increasing efficiency and reducing waste where you can.