Take it from an Expert: 5 Easy, No-Cost Steps to Save Energy Now
August 7, 2012
One of the most popular features of Tendril Energize Online is the Weekly Challenge— a feature geared towards increasing awareness about energy usage, providing a recommendation to take an action to reduce energy usage, and rewarding action with points for completion of the challenge.
We’ve had a great response to our Weekly Energy Challenges and wanted to share some energy saving recommendations. Saving energy doesn’t always involve a lot of work or a lot of money. Here are five FREE and easy things you can do to save some energy:
1. Unplug your guest room. Go into your guest room or any other room in the house that is seldom used. Unplug anything you find there that doesn’t need to be plugged in when there isn’t a guest– digital clocks, night lights, TVs, etc. These items don’t use a lot of power, but they are always on and pulling a little bit of power. Think of these items like a leaky faucet, a few drips don’t seem like much but can add up to a lot of water if left on long enough!
2. Air-dry one piece of laundry. Dryers use a lot of energy, but they are so convenient it is hard to give them up completely. If you aren’t ready to take the step of air-drying all your laundry, just try taking one item out per load. Take out one shirt or pair of pants and hang them up. Taking this one item out will shorten the time your dryer runs (if you use the auto shut-off mode) and save you just a little energy on each load. Once you are comfortable with one item, see if you can do two or three!
3. Turn off your outdoor lights during the day. Many people leave their outdoor lights on at night for security reasons, but forget to turn them off during the day. Make turning off the outdoor lights part of your morning routine – or even put a reminder in your phone. Better yet, for a small cost you can install motion sensors or timers so you never have to think about turning off the lights again!
4. Use sleep mode on your computer(s). Sleep mode, or power-save mode, on computers is an easy way to cut the power used by these devices. You can typically turn on sleep mode in the “control panel” or “settings” area of your computer. If you have a desktop, make sure you have sleep mode set for both your hard drive and your monitor. And remember, “screen savers” are NOT energy savers. Screen savers are typically not necessary and can use a lot of power. A graphics-heavy screen saver – like the ones that display your family pictures – can use more power than when you are actively using your computer!
5. Unplug your second refrigerator. If you have a second refrigerator that you seldom use or don’t really need, unplug it! Second refrigerators are often old and inefficient, plus, they use power all the time! Many utilities offer free pick-up and disposal of second refrigerators. You can estimate how much money you can save by using this handy calculator from Energy Star. If you REALLY aren’t ready to give up your second refrigerator, look into upgrading to a newer and/or smaller model.
We’ve got a lot of no-cost and low-cost energy saving recommendations in Tendril Energize Online. And what we’re finding is for many people these “low hanging fruit” can return real savings and more importantly, can reinforce their commitment to save energy and money and motivate them to act on even more Weekly Challenges and recommendations.
If you’re interested in learning more about what consumers are doing to save energy, stay tuned…next week I’ll share some insight from our “Ask an Expert” feature in Tendril Energize Online and share the most common questions we receive from consumers.
Emily Weitkamp, Tendril Energize Online, “Ask an Expert”