5 Odd Ways to Cut Your Energy Consumption
We've all heard the standard advice on how to reduce the energy consumption of our home appliances and how to save money and energy by lower or raising thermostats, adding insulation and buying EnergyStar rated appliances.
Energy can be saved directly in ways that reduce your power use or lower your utility bills. You can also save energy that don't directly impact you but could have a positive effect on the environment and could save energy at another level.
1. Hidden Energy Wasters
Does your TV turn on instantly when you press a button on the remote? It probably does. Did you know that TV set is using electricity even when it is turned off? The "instant on" feature was added as a wow factor for customers at a time when fossil fuels were plentiful and visible consumption was king.
This feature is found on television sets, home theaters, DVD players and many other useful items in our homes. In order to be ready to turn on in a second, there is a function in the units that draws electricity at all times.
The amount of energy used is small for each unit but how many televisions do you have? How many stereos and other pieces of equipment sit with little lights shining when in the "off" position?
All of the items are adding to your power bill. Though it might be too much trouble to constantly plug and unplug these systems, why not plug them all into one power strip with an on/off button? By pressing that button, the units are not drawing any power when they are not in use.
2. Saving Gas through Organization
When gas prices soar, we try to limit our driving. We put off long trips and may form car pools to go to work or take children to school. That can save money and gas but there's an odd way to cut down energy consumption that requires organization.
Too often, we worry about long trips and then jump in the car to do the weekly grocery shopping. The next morning we pick up the dry cleaning.
On Wednesday we have to take the dog to the groomer or fill a prescription. We are attached to our vehicles and we are accustomed to running our errands whenever we want.
It's not a particularly odd way to cut down our energy consumption but surprisingly few people take the time to organize their weekly activities to reduce driving time and reduce fuel use.
With fifteen minutes of planning you can plot a route to drive one time that covers everything you need to do for the week. Drop the dog off at the groomer and pick up your prescription at the drug store down the street.
Then drive a couple miles to the grocery (and don't forget to bring a cooler with you if needed) and hit the dry cleaner and fill up with gas on the way back.
Plan your errands for a once a week trip that will organize the stores you need to visit in a loop to avoid backtracking. When the errands are done, pick up your pooch and head home.
3. Workplace Energy Savings
Another alternative for organized shopping is to use your trips to and from work as an opportunity to pick up things you need to avoid trips on your days off.
You'll save money at the grocery store if you shop on the way home from work as you won't be in the mood to look and browse which leads to more purchases.
Another odd way to cut down energy consumption is in your work hours. Many businesses today are willing to let employees adjust work hours to suit their lifestyle or to save energy.
Perhaps you can work longer days at the office and go to work only four days a week thus saving the gas for that fifth drive to work. You might be able to arrange a schedule that permits you to do much of your in a home office rather than driving into the city every day.
4. Once or Twice Removed
You may think of saving energy only as things you can do at home or at work or in your car that directly result in less energy use. There is a bigger picture that can save energy far away from your own personal habits.
When you buy products made of recycled materials you are reusing supplies that would have been discarded in land fills or burned in smoking heaps years ago.
The garbage we dispose of daily is filling landfills at an alarming rate. Perhaps nowhere else in the world do consumers buy such overly packaged products as in the U.S. We package bags inside boxes on the store shelves.
To prevent theft, a $10 curling iron is wrapped in hard plastic and thick cardboard and contains several pages of warnings/instructions on the enclosed pamphlet. For safety, twenty-four small aspirin are packaged in a three inch tall plastic bottle filled with cotton stuffing and the top sealed with plasticized foil.
In many cases, the bottle is then encased in a box. Buying only products that are packaged with recycled materials means saving energy at some place along the manufacturing pipeline.
5. Should You Buy Used
We love our "stuff". For many people, male and female, life is one big shopping spree. As our concerns for the economy and the environment grow, we have to ask how much new stuff we actually need and what the costs of providing those products might be on our environment.
Increasingly, shoppers are frequenting resale shops and consignment shops instead of trawling the malls. It's possible to find new clothing and shoes with price tags still attached and to find household good in perfect working order.
If you want an odd way to save energy, resale shopping may be the ultimate. You can often find lightly used clothing and household good you could not afford at the mall sold at prices that won't dent your wallet.
More importantly, if you reuse what someone else bought and discarded, you are also reusing the energy it took to create that product. You can benefit form the shopoholics who don't try on clothing before buying or don't wear what they purchase. You can have small appliances that work perfectly for a fraction of the cost to you and keep them out of landfills at the same time.
The most important factor is to switch your mind into power saving mode. You can't save energy one day and then waste it another.
One of the best things I've done is to invest in alternative energy sources, namely solar energy.
This is a type of renewable energy that you should invest it if you really care about cutting down your energy consumption!