Our List of Energy Saving Tips and Daily Habits to Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
By Tony Gilbert
Many people are unaware of the small things they can do daily to make their homes more energy efficient. From adjusting the thermostat when you leave for the day to turning off the lights when you leave a room, these minor tweaks can make a huge difference. Here are 13 everyday habits you can adopt to make your entire home a more energy-efficient space.
Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency: 13 Energy Saving Tips
Adjust Your Thermostat
One of the easiest daily habits to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to adjust your thermostat. The ideal home temperature for energy savings is between 70°F and 78°F, so changing it eight degrees higher or lower when you aren’t there will help you reduce costs and energy usage. Programmable or smart thermostats make this task even more manageable, allowing users to set certain temperatures for specific times of day or week.
Run Ceiling Fans in Opposing Directions
Some people may not even know that their ceiling fans can serve as both cooling and heating elements. When run clockwise, ceiling fans create a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling into the occupied space – especially beneficial during winter. Conversely, running your ceiling fan counterclockwise circulates cool air and makes your home cooler during summer without the need to adjust or use your thermostat. To change the fan’s direction, locate its switch and flip it.
Use Natural Airflow
While adjusting your thermostat and running ceiling fans are efficient methods for reducing your home’s energy usage, natural airflow can be even more beneficial. For example, opening curtains or blinds during the day to let in natural light and closing them at night can help regulate your home’s temperature with minimal energy use.
Other natural airflow tips include keeping doors open when doing activities that generate heat (like cooking) or using exhaust fans for better ventilation.
Shade Windows & Walls
A simple way to make your home more energy-efficient is to shade windows and walls. Utilizing light-blocking window shades and curtains can help regulate the temperature in your home, minimizing the need to use your thermostat and reducing your home’s energy consumption.
Additionally, planting trees around your property is an excellent way to shade your house from direct sunlight. Trees provide natural insulation for your walls and windows, reducing the amount of energy used to cool or heat your home.
Only Run Full Dish & Clothing Washers
Running partial loads in your dishwasher or clothing washer wastes water and energy, as these appliances function most efficiently when running full loads. If you can’t wait for a full load for your laundry routine, look for the quick wash or energy-saving cycle option on your washer.
Cold water is best for washing clothes, as hot water requires more energy to heat up.
Air Dry Dishes & Clothing
Once you’ve washed your dishes and clothes, air drying them is the best option. Utilizing dish racks and clotheslines are two simple and effective ways to air dry without using extra energy. Line-drying clothing outdoors when the weather permits will provide the fastest drying times.
If you must use your dryer for larger items, clean the lint trap before each load, as buildup can impede airflow and increase drying time.
Wring clothes out or spin-dry them before placing them in the dryer. This simple step can reduce the energy to dry clothes by up to 25%.
Limit Water Usage
If you wash your dishes by hand, using a bowl can help save water because you can control the amount you use for washing and rinsing them.
Limiting shower times can also make a big difference in saving water. Use cold water when you can, and don’t forget to check for leaks and repair them as soon as you notice them.
Use the Microwave Instead of the Oven
Microwaves use significantly less energy than gas or electric ovens. Opt for the microwave if you’re only reheating leftovers or cooking a small meal.
When you must use the oven, consider the following:
- Convection ovens are not only more efficient, but they also cook food more evenly.
- Cooking larger meals is also more efficient than cooking several small ones.
- Use the oven’s warm setting when possible instead of turning it off between cooking. Doing so will preserve the heat for longer and reduce energy use.
Start a Compost Pile
Composting involves recycling organic matter to enrich soil and plants and helps keep trash out of landfill. Compostable food scraps make an excellent natural fertilizer for your garden and can help you reduce the garbage you generate each week.
Fruit & vegetable peels, egg shells, and coffee grounds are compostable items. Every day, you can add these items to a compost bin, and over time, you’ll have nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
Unplug Electronics & Chargers When You’re Not Using Them
Leaving your devices plugged in wastes energy and drives up your electricity bill. Get into the habit of unplugging electronics and their respective chargers when your device isn’t charging or being used.
Power strips can make this task easier because you can turn off or unplug an entire group of devices at once. They’re also a great way to keep your home organized.
Turn Off Lights When They Aren’t in Use
While it may sound simple, many people forget to turn off lights when they leave a room in their home, causing unnecessary energy usage. Therefore, making it a habit to turn them off when they’re not in use can help save energy.
Smart light switches are a great way to automate your home and help ensure lights are turned off when they aren’t in use. If you leave the house and forget to turn off your lights, smart devices can detect when you’re gone and turn them off for you or allow you to turn them off yourself.
If you can opt for natural light rather than electric lights, doing so helps reduce the demand for your lighting fixtures and bulbs, decreasing energy consumption in your home.
Track Your Home’s Energy Usage With an Energy Monitor
Energy monitors display electricity usage in real-time, making it easier for homeowners to track their energy consumption. With this information, you can identify which appliances use the most energy and adjust to conserve power. You can also use the energy monitor’s data to identify energy waste and make insulation or other changes around the home.
Recycle & Reuse Everything You Can
An easy way to reduce your home’s energy consumption is to recycle and reuse as much material as possible, including paper, plastic, glass, aluminum cans, and other items. When you reduce waste, reuse items when possible, and recycle what can’t be reused, you’re helping to conserve energy. Recycling bags and bins can help keep things organized and make recycling easier.
6 Additional Ways to Create an Energy-Efficient Home
In addition to the above tips, there are other strategies you can implement to make your home more energy-efficient:
- Weatherizing your home is a great way to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer without using too much energy.
- Installing insulation around windows, doors, and other areas can reduce heat loss and help manage the temperature inside.
- Double-glazing windows can help reduce the energy used for heating in winter and cooling during summer.
- Replacing your current appliances with Energy Star models is one of the best energy-efficient home upgrades and significantly reduces your home’s energy consumption.
- Investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power will reduce your electricity bills.
- Upgrading to LED lighting fixtures uses significantly less energy than traditional bulbs and lasts longer.
Apply These Energy-Saving Habits Today
Applying these simple, daily habits can help make your home more energy efficient. By making a few small changes each day, you can see a real difference in the energy your home consumes. Start saving today by implementing some or all of these easy tips.