6 Simple Actions to Increase Your Home Energy Savings

Photo by Karolina Szczur on Unsplash

Photo by Karolina Szczur on Unsplash

Are you looking for ways to waste less energy and save more money at home? 

In September, the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative launches the Home Energy Challenge, a fun and friendly competition designed to help local homeowners (and renters) reduce their impact, save money, and create a cleaner, healthier future! And we invite you to join.

Resolving to be more energy efficient at home can pay big dividends. It not only helps us increase energy and money savings over the long-term, it also helps lower our collective carbon footprint, meaning a healthier environment for all. 

Here are six simple actions that you can take now to increase your home’s efficiency and lower your impact on the environment and its natural resources. 

1.       Switch to LEDs: Did you know that incandescent bulbs are being phased out in the U.S.? And that upgrading to LEDs – the best low-impact lighting alternative to incandescent – is one of the easiest ways to save energy and money? BONUS: Anyone, from renters to homeowners, can take this action! LEDs provide the same quality and amount of light as a traditional incandescent, but at a much lower cost and longer lifetime per bulb. Just be sure to get the color temperature right (for warm light choose 2700-3000 Kelvins).

2.       Install Smart Power Strips: Little known fact: Most of your electronics are drawing power when they’re not in use! Yikes, right? Known as a “phantom” or “vampire load,” this type of continuous energy consumption adds up – it can cost the average home around $200 per year! Consider installing smart power strips to reduce these energy-sucking loads and save money.

3.       Adjust Your Thermostat: With this action, you can take it slow. Try turning your thermostat down in the winter or up in the summer ONE DEGREE AT A TIME and see how it feels. While we like to feel warm and toasty in the winter, and cool as a cucumber in the summer, that 80°F setting in the winter or 65°F setting in the summer adds up. “Heating and cooling accounts for 50% of the average U.S. household’s utility bill,” ENERGYSTAR.gov says, so testing out different temperature comfort levels is worth the potential energy- and money-savings!

4.       Be Heat Wise: Insulation works! In the winter, take advantage of your home’s rugs, curtains, and carpeting to keep your home warm and lower your heating energy requirements. For example, during the day when the sun is hitting the windows, open your drapes to let the sunshine warm your home. At night, close them to keep the chill out. Another super-practical energy-saving tip: Cover bare floors with rugs or carpet to maximize heat retention.

5.       Stay Cool: Alternately in the summer, you can use those same simple strategies like closing drapes to keep the sunshine out during the day to save energy and money on your AC bill. Another tip: Avoid cooling space you’re not using by closing doors and air vents to unoccupied rooms. Even something as simple as planting trees can shade your home in the summer and keep it cool.

6.       Replace AC Filters: Save up to 15% on your home’s air conditioning costs when you replace air filters on a regular basis. This also qualifies as basic maintenance, and fortunately it is inexpensive and easy to do! Dirty and dusty AC filters not only decrease energy efficiency and increase your utility bill, but it can harm air quality and impact your family’s health. 

Explore more easy actions you can take immediately to boost your home’s energy efficiency, like line drying your clothes, lowering your water heater temperature, or simply turning stuff off! We also recommend that homeowners and renters take a look at SaveOnEnergy.com’s “Mapping Vampire Energy” Guide, which illustrates room-by-room all of the household appliances that “suck” or waste energy — and money — when in stand-by mode (ie. plugged in but not in use). Then, read on for ways to ward off those energy vampires in SaveOnEnergy’s “Energy Maintenance Checklist”!

Or, you can learn even more by talking to us in person! Come chat with the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative at the Tomtoberfest’s Community Mixer at Ix Art Park Saturday, September 29, from 12PM-4PM! We’ll be there with several other local organizations – including Better Business Challenge participants LEAP-VA, The Haven, Willow Tree, Building Goodness, and United Way TJA – celebrating Charlottesville community.