Save Money by Conserving Energy by Jessica Hodges
Interestingly, the movement to a greener, more environmentally-friendly lifestyle isn’t only for something you can do that will benefit the planet and future generations. Steps you take now to conserve energy can actually put more green in your wallet and bank account.
Yes, cutting energy can save you money. Here’s are some ideas for saving energy and money according to the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Work from home if possible. In the U.S., nearly 4.2 million people worked from home in 2000, up from 3.4 million in 1990. Working from home saves energy and time by cutting out the commute, but it may increase your home energy bills a lot unless you use energy-saving office equipment.
- Shop for Energy Star electronics including cordless phones, televisions, VCRs and DVD players, combination units (TV/VCR; TV/DVD), computers, copiers, fax machines, monitors, multi-function devices (fax, scanner, copier), printers and scanners. Energy Star office equipment is widely available and energy efficient, providing users with dramatic savings, as much as 90% savings for some products.
- Energy Star office products use about half the electricity of standard equipment. Along with direct energy savings, this equipment can reduce air-conditioning loads, noise from fans and transformers, and electromagnetic field emissions from monitors.
- An Energy Star computer uses 70% less electricity than computers without this designation. If left inactive, Energy Star computers enter a low-power mode and use 15 watts or less. Spending a large portion of time in low-power mode not only saves energy, but helps equipment run cooler and last longer.
- Compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and provide the same light levels and last four to 10 times longer. Install them in your outside porch lights, too. You won’t have to get up on a ladder to replace them as often.
- To maximize savings with a laptop, put the AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically); the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
- Common misconceptions sometimes account for the failure to turn off equipment. Many people believe that equipment lasts longer if it is never turned off. This incorrect perception carries over from the days of older mainframe computers. Energy Star computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated, so make sure power management is activated on your computer.
- There is also a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.
- To save money in the long-term, consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
- Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
- Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than throwaway batteries. If you must use throwaways, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.
- Turn off the lights in any room you’re not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets.
- Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
- Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
- If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy, can produce more light (lumens), and do not get as hot as the halogen torchieres. Halogen torchieres are a fire risk because of the high temperature of the halogen bulb.