Four Insanely Easy Ways to Save Energy

May 06, 2010 2 Comments by EcoFlirt

You’ve got better ways to spend money than utility bills, which is reason enough to trim energy use. More important than saving cash, however, is reducing your personal greenhouse emissions. In the US, individual living practices account for 30% of our country’s CO2 emissions. It’s not just corporate greed and indifference causing global warming; it’s also the small choices we make each day. So for the sake of lowering your carbon footprint, not to mention your electric bill, here are some simple ways to reduce your energy use.

1.      Unplug Your Chargers

Why: Your charger still sucks electricity while it’s plugged in, even when your phone is off the charger – 5 watts an hour, or about 40 kilowatt hours a year.
How: Adopt the habit of unplugging your charger when you grab your phone.
The Savings: If you regularly unplug your phone charger while it’s not in use, you will keep about 100 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year. Imagine the implications of unplugging chargers for your iPod, camera, laptop, and phone. That little habit would save 400 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year!

2. Turn Off Your Lights

Why: The lighting in your home can account for a quarter of your home’s energy costs.
How: Mom was right, turn off the lights when you’re not in the room.
The Savings: Given the example of just one 75-watt bulb being left on for three hours a day unnecessarily, turning that light off would save 125 pounds of CO2 from being released annually. Which leads us to…

3. Update Your Bulbs

Why: Those old incandescent bulbs are just that: old (and not in that cool vintage way). Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) trim 75% in energy costs and last up to ten times longer.
How: Switch your old bulbs to CFLs, especially in lights that stay on more than 15 minutes at a time (which maximizes savings — switching off and on reduces the life of the bulb). When a CFL finally does die, do not throw it in the trash – because it has a small amount of mercury, it needs to be responsibly disposed. Learn where to recycle CFLs at LampRecycle.
The Savings: Updating a single bulb to a CFL can save you almost $30 over the life of the bulb. Changing just one lightbulb to a CFL can prevent 150 pounds of carbon from being released each year.

4. Reduce Your Drying Time

Why: A clothes dryer is an energy hog! According to the Consumer Energy Center, your dryer will cost you about $1,530 to run over the course of its lifetime.
How: Reduce your drying time by wholly or partially drying your clothes on a rack or line. Keep your dryer 4-5 inches away from the wall to allow the air to flow more easily, and clean the vent that goes to the outside (not a pleasant task, but it makes a big difference.) And, of course, clean that lint filter before every load so your dryer doesn’t work so hard.
The Savings: A single clothes dryer can dump 1,500 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, so do all you can to trim your usage. And the lint filter? Cleaning it before each use can save 30% in energy.

The Cumulative Effect

While these statistics are impressive, they become amazing when these changes are done en masse. If every American would change just ONE bulb in a light that is on for four hours daily from an incandescent to a CFL, the gas emissions saved would be the equivalent taking 800,000 cars off the road. Just one bulb each! So get to it – let’s unplug some chargers, change some bulbs, and clean those lint filters. And on your way out, be sure to hit the lights.

Green Living

2 Responses to “Four Insanely Easy Ways to Save Energy”

  1. JennBonn007 says:

    I love these super-easy ways to save– My hubby will surely thank you when our electric bill comes in next month! Reading your post, I felt inspired to share my excitement about finding these great new energy-saving towels at Bed Bath and Beyond with my fellow EcoFlirters! BBB has several eco-friendly choices, but my favorites have been the Aquis Super Absorbent Hair Towels ($15.99-$21.99) and the Dri Soft bath towels ($5.99!). The Aquis dries my hair in milliseconds, and with the Dri Soft, I can throw in a load of towels that are dry in minutes and oh-so-soft! Not only do they both save me time, but they keep my blow dryer and my dryer from having to work overtime… nobody likes that, right?! :)

  2. EcoFlirt says:

    Jenn, thanks for the great tip! I completely agree — every little bit counts and really adds up!