You don’t have to live like a caveman to put a dent in your electric bill and reduce your energy consumption, as even the tiniest of efforts can make a difference.
Alternative energy sources are essential to a sustainable energy future, but if we ever hope to make that future realistic, we first have to start by reducing our consumption in the first place.
Here are a few things you can do that, when added up, can make a substantial difference in the amount of energy you use, and bring us all that much closer to alternative energy sources being a realistic option.
#1 — Use Natural Light
The amount of electricity that lights use is pretty marginal, but over time, it adds up. The bottom line is, there’s plenty of highly beneficial light right outside of our windows going to waste, so why not use it?
There are a couple of different ways to bring the sun inside from out there, but perhaps none quite so sophisticated as this design by Solenica — a solar-powered, robotic mirror system that brings the light of 14 bulbs into a room with a single unit.
#2 — Switch to LEDs
For a long time, compact fluorescent lights were the recommendation for energy savings, but it’s become apparent that disposal of these bulbs doesn’t make them the safest or most environmentally friendly option, thanks to the high amounts of mercury contained in them.
LEDs provide twice as much light as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), use about half as much energy, and their lifespans aren’t affected by temperature or how often you turn them on and off. While more expensive, the longevity and reduced toxicity of LEDs make them the best energy-saving choice for modern lighting.
#3 — Use Passive Solar Energy
Most modern homes are designed with airflow in mind, but as people look for more ways to reduce energy consumption, alternative building methods that use passive solar energy for indoor climate control are being explored.
Homes made of dense materials like cob, adobe, and rammed earth are being built all over the place, thanks to their natural ability to absorb heat from the sun and use it to gradually warm the interior space.
If it’s not in the cards for you to build your own cob dream home, even a simple coat of plaster on a wall that receives a lot of sunlight can make a world of difference. Create touches in your home that interact with the natural temperature fluctuations of the day, and you can use that cool night air to reduce your cooling costs during the day, and the heat of the sun to keep you warm through the night.
#4 — Heat Yourself, Not the Space
It’s an interesting concept, but for those that spend a lot of time in one spot in their homes (like in a home office), it often makes more sense to heat yourself than it does to heat your entire house. Use heated blankets and even radiant lamps to provide more localized warmth if you really want to kick the energy savings up a notch.
#5 — Weatherproof Your House
Heating and cooling accounts for a massive portion of household energy consumption, and weatherproofing your house can help. Take a caulk gun to any gaps between your baseboards and floors and loose window panes, and use weather stripping to create a better seal between gappy doors and door frames.
#6 — Keep Bedroom Doors Closed
A great way to keep your bedroom cool throughout the day is to simply seal it off from the rest of your house. Shutting the door prevents the temperature exchange from creating an uncomfortably hot room that has to be cooled off with air conditioning before you can crash.
#7 — Use Sensible Window Treatments
Window treatments can make all the difference in the world when it comes to indoor climate control. In the winter months, use drapes with an insulated interior (preferably dark in color to pull in the heat of the sun). In the summer, use light colored or even Solar Curtains that will cast warming rays back out your windows.
#8 — Get Rid of Unnecessary Appliances
Okay, take a deep breath, and walk away from the dishwasher.
Around the globe, people are ditching what they don’t need in favor of going a little greener in their homes, and the effects of these changes are really adding up.
Here are a few appliances you might be able to live without:
#9 — Try a Solar Oven
Solar Ovens are super effective, very simple, and are a great way to keep your house from getting hot in the summer while you cook. Using just the heat from the sun, these nifty contraptions can do everything from bake bread to roast a chicken!
#10 — Shorten Shower Time
You don’t have to get funky to go green, but the reality is that showering every day might not be that essential anyway. If the idea of a non-daily shower is a no-go, try opting for shorter ones.
Showering less will cut down on the strain on your hot water heater and water pump, but it’ll also significantly reduce your water consumption. Dry shampoo, anyone?
#11 — Keep Your Refrigerator Cool
This savvy little trick can actually turn into MAJOR energy savings. Sure, keeping the refrigerator door shut is a start, but keeping it in a shady, cool corner of your house is even better.
Since the thermostat tells the compressor on your refrigerator when to kick on, if you can keep your refrigerator in a cooler spot, it’ll kick on less and use less power.
#12 — Downsize to One TV
I know it’s nice to snuggle under your covers for The Walking Dead, but real energy savings means choosing where you really need TVs, and where you can live without them.
In general, open social spaces like living rooms are ideal for TVs, and bedrooms are actually more relaxing and conducive to sleep without one.
What crazy thing have you done to reduce your energy consumption? Share it with us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine!