Bright Ideas: How to Save Electricity and Some Cash.
Disclosure: Hey there, some (not all) of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and purchase, I’ll get a commission (chicken treat money, not enough to buy a pony) at no extra cost to you. I only include recommendations that I believe will add value to your life, and linking to them is meant to be a convenience. The opinions expressed are my own and I will not accept payment for pre-determined reviews.
Welcome to the fifth installment in the 11-Weeks To A Green Home sustainability series. Do you automatically sing “it’s electric, boogie-woogie” your head any time you hear the word electricity? No? oh, yeah… me neither.
Are you having fun yet!? Have you tried any of the suggestions in the series? If so, please send me a message or leave a comment on what your experience has been!
So far, we’ve ditched single-use plastic, gone paperless & eliminated junk mail from our lives, reduced our paper consumption and swapped our paper out for more sustainable varieties. Not bad for four weeks’ time, huh?
This week, we’re saving some spark! Let’s talk about our electricity use. How do you feel about fracking? If you’re reading my blog, you probably don’t feel great about it. Did you know that shale gas (fracking) accounts for approximately 67% of the gas burned in power plants to provide us electricity? On a side note, 97% of “natural gas” consumption in the US comes from fracking now. So… the less electricity and natural gas we, who live greenly, use, the more we’re helping our environment. Check out the map below and see where your source of electricity comes from. The purple is natural gas.
Alternative energy is a big topic that is better left for another post so right now, assuming you use on-grid electricity, let’s take a look at how you can plug up (hahaha) some of the leaks to reduce your need for it while at the same time, saving some money on your electric bill.
Seal Your Doors and Windows
The biggest leaks to stop are coming through your doors and windows. It would be awesome if we all had adobe walls with dual paned, energy efficient windows but if you don’t have either of those, weather stripping your doors and windows will help make your heating and cooling efforts a lot more efficient. It’s not difficult to do and you can even use wool pile or other natural materials if you’d like.
If you’d like to know more about how to DIY this project, check out this video
Use Power Strips
You may have heard of these things called “power strips”… ahhh I jest. I’m sure the concept of using power strips is not a new one for you. They are really great at saving electricity, buuuuuuut… I’m going to share with you the busy person’s way to make full use of power strip electricity savings.
This all started because I was having a hard time remembering to actually turn my power strips off at night. That just doesn’t end up helping anything. To my credit, I have a LOT to do, prepare and take care of before I can finally call it a night.
I’d juuuuuuust lay my head on the pillow and get nice and cozy when I’d realize that the damned power strips were still on… again! ARGH!!!! 8 times out of 10 I said “eff it! I’m not getting out of bed again!”
Then I found these remote controlled outlets! The power strip plugs into them, they plug into the wall and you can turn them on or off from a remote control. I just KNOW you’re gonna message me and say, OMG smart plugs are WAY better, but hear me out. Smart plugs are like… twelve bucks each on the cheap. I got 5 of these remotely controlled outlets for $30.00
I have two remotes. One in my living room, and one within reach of my bed. Now when I’m all nice and snuggled and just about to fall asleep when the “oh crap” thought jars me awake, I can just press a few buttons, and turn off my power strips!
If you are a smart plug user and love the ability to monitor & control your outlets from wherever you may be, totally keep doing that! But if you have a lot of things to do before you can crawl into bed and aren’t a smart-plug user, consider getting these remote plugs for the nights that you’re like “oh crap! I forgot the power strips!” and just can’t fathom getting back out of bed one.more.time.
Dress For The Occasion
This one’s a no-brainer, but it seems like such a small thing that it’s often disregarded. Lowering your thermostat under 68 degrees Fahrenheit saves a LOT of energy! If you keep your thermostat down around 65 and wear fuzzy socks, warm pants, and a sweater, you’ll be saving a lot of electricity and money. For every degree that you lower your heat or raise your cooling, you save 1-3% on your bill. Keep a cozy blanket close to the couch and enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace or a hot cup of cocoa on the colder nights. Also, go ahead and feel just a little smug when your gas & electric bill comes 😉
Go To Bed Earlier
This one saves more than you even know! Granted, it’s way easier in the summer than in the winter but the earlier after dark you shut the lights off the less power you use! Plus, you get up earlier (theoretically) which means you get more sunlight (also theoretically, lol!) on your skin and in your retinas. More sunlight means more vitamin D for you; you’ll be more alert and have better circadian rhythms which are important for your health!
Use a Laundry Line
What’s a laundry line, amiright?!? I remember my grandma having a laundry umbrella thingy but in coastal city life, this was just not something I was exposed to.
In my house growing up, the dryer not only dried clothes but it was also a lint roller and an iron! Just toss a furry and/or wrinkled top/dress/whatevs into the dryer with a damp cloth and bam! 10 minutes later, totally wearable!
It wasn’t until I took a trip to Italy a few years back that I noticed laundry lines were the average drying method! It’s really easy to install one and you can get super fancy or you can just hang a sturdy line of cotton string up. It’s totally up to you.
The average dryer eats up $100 per year, assuming it’s energy efficient and in top-notch shape. Also assuming you aren’t on a tiered system that prices your electricity based on use. Why not put that cash toward your garden or some spring chickens!
You don’t have to limit your laundry line installation to the outdoors, you can hang one in your house! I have one outside for warm sunny days and I have one in my bedroom for the 10 days a year (or unfortunately less) it rains here.
Use Power Banks
This is a neat trick that I learned from Tesla. Tesla has this incredible power storage tank called the Powerwall. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m OBSESSED with this thing. I feel like it would be the answer to all the electricity problems I don’t have. If ONLY my electric bill warranted the investment in it!
Anyhow, this Powerwall they’ve created is basically a really sleek, low profile battery designed to store up all the energy your rooftop solar panels create and power your whole house at night (or on cloudy days). There’s another function though that blew my mind. If you’re tied to the grid, it will pull electricity from the grid during the least expensive time of day which you can use during peak hours, saving you money.
For the average person that can’t fork out $7k for a fancy battery, portable power banks give you a scaled down version. Charge up some portable power banks during the cheap times of day and then plug your ipad, cel phone and other usb chargeable devices into it during peak hours. Voila, you just saved more money than you think! Also, you’ve cut down on peak demand which reduces the amount of dirty electricity required! Go, you!!!
If you don’t already have a portable power bank, here’s one that I use that I like a lot. It can charge three devices at once which is pretty handy!
Use LED Bulbs
Remember when CFLs were in every lamp you saw? I hated it. I really don’t like fluorescent lighting. For me it was like, sure, I’d save electricity with CFLs installed because I would never turn the lamp on!
Lucky for me (and you, if you hate fluorescent lighting too), LEDs have taken over the efficient lighting scene and they’re doing a REALLY good job of mimicking incandescent lighting! Plus, they last a REALLY long time. They are a little more expensive but to give you an idea, I swapped all the CFLs out in my house 2 years ago with LED bulbs, and they haven’t needed replacing yet.
Wrapping it up
So there you have it! Five ways of cutting down your electricity demand and therefore saving money, making your home greener and positively impacting the planet! Are you already doing some or all of these electricity savings methods? If not, how many of these are you gonna try out? Let me know!
Next week we’re going to talk about making room in your life for more eco-friendly materials… literally! It’s spring cleaning next week and we’re gonna clean out the closets!
Would you like to have green-living how-to’s, organic gardening tips
and natural chicken keeping ideas delivered every week to peruse at your leisure?
Click here to set your preferences and tell us where to send them!