Nowadays, it feels like everything we do is bad for the environment. Something as simple as watching television or making coffee can contribute to climate change. Even though climate change is inevitable, there are things we can do to help slow it down.
In general, the simplest way to reduce electricity wastage is to be aware of what you are and are not using every day that requires electricity. Optimize your everyday living spaces to be the most energy efficient.
In this post, we’ll cover what causes the most energy usage, why it’s important, and what you can do to effectively reduce electricity wastage.
The Consequences of Electricity Wastage
Electricity is something I definitely take for granted. It’s conveniently ingrained in my everyday life that I never notice it’s there until something doesn’t work when I plug it in or if there is a power outage. Then I’m very quickly reminded how grateful I am for electricity.
Unfortunately with something so convenient, there is always a downside. To power electricity, fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and gas must be burned in power plants to produce them. Sounds innocent, except burning these fossil fuels causes toxic fumes including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and more, which causes greenhouse gases which results in various environmental issues and one of them is climate change.
Not only an environmental problem but issues in human health as well. Toxic fumes from burning fossil fuels produce air pollution that can cause health issues such as asthma, cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, and premature death (EESI).
If all these issues affect humans, it affects animals and their habitats too. This means the entire ecosystem as a whole is suffering. Electricity is so essential to our lives, doesn’t it seem kind of ironic that we need it to survive?
How Much Electricity Are We Wasting Every Year
Think about everything that is plugged into your house right now, or if you’re at work, think about everything that is using power to function. Can you imagine all the tall buildings downtown? Every single office, every bathroom, every closet room, and kitchen area. What about a hospital, or production companies!
The United States’ electricity consumption was 3.93 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2021, you can read more about electricity usage here. This value is 13 times greater than electricity usage in 1950.
I know it can always be overwhelming thinking about what is happening everywhere else, but the only thing we can do is focus on ourselves and what we can control. So it’s time to evaluate our homes and create habits that are the most energy efficient.
What Are the Biggest Energy Users in Households
To tackle this issue let’s evaluate where the biggest sources are coming from.
Air conditioning and Heating
This can use up to about 46%, and it makes sense, to combat weather outside to keep us comfortable inside the HVAC is always running. Some people even have it running when they’re not home or some people have it running all day long because they work from home.
Severe weather also affects this when it gets too cold or too hot. Winter and summer bills are peak seasons so they are always higher. With climate change, these temperatures can get even more severe over time. Read our guide here for Eco-Friendly ways to cool down a room without using AC.
Some people also like to crank the air way down to 65F or less before they go to bed and be buried under blankets all night. It sounds nice to me but I would still get too cold.
I know it feels good, but maybe reconsider next time you hop in the shower and turn on the water to be mildly scolding and have every window fog up.
Hot showers, baths, dishwashers, and laundry, all require large amounts of water to be heated up. The water amount also matters as water needs to refill in the tank and get heated up again. So it’s something you don’t want to waste, especially if you do any of the combination at the same time.
Appliances are the ones that cost a lot of money and are the most vital in our homes because we use them the most. Major appliances like the refrigerator and stove are hard to avoid, and the washer, dryer, and dishwasher are used in frequent rotation.
The sun can only be out for so long before it disappears again. So unless you are on the Sun’s schedule, nighttime and early morning require some sort of light to be able to see.
If you don’t have a lot of natural sunlight in your home, the type of light source you use and how long you use it will affect electricity usage.
TV and Media Equipment
Television and gadgets are things to keep us entertained after work and on weekends. Computers, phones, and tablets, they’ve all become such a big part of our lives. Even work nowadays can be done on the phone or tablet, which means they need to be fully functional and have a charger nearby at all times.
Do you consider yourself tech-savvy and feel like you always need to have the latest gadgets? Maybe something to think about when you want to make another purchase!
How to Reduce Your Electricity Wastage
Now that you know what contributes the most electricity wastage in your home, here are some ways to reduce the usage.
- Use smart technology. Automate the thermostat and control it from your phone, the same can be applied to lights.
- Change to LED lights and make it a habit to turn off lights when it’s not in use. If you’re too lazy then utilize a smart system and turn it off using your phone or tablet.
- Install ceiling fans and use them more than turning the air down.
- Regular maintenance on HVAC, replace filters, etc.
- Take quick showers instead of baths.
- Unplug electronics, even sleep mode can still use electricity.
- Use a power strip to make it easy to turn off electronics all at once.
- Shop for energy efficient appliances.
- Only use full loads of laundry.
- Only use full loads of dirty dishes. Some energy companies offer lower rates for non-peak hours, check with your company. If they do, then set the dishwasher on delay settings to run during the night.
- Ensure your house has good insulation and all windows are sealed.
- Use light blocking curtains to keep the heat out.
- Do a home energy audit to see where you can improve to save more.
- Find hobbies to entertain yourself like knitting, reading, or anything that doesn’t require electricity.
It’s really hard to be completely electricity-free, but as long as we make those conscious decisions to be the most efficient, then we’re doing our part. Some of these require a little more effort than others, and anything we are not used to only takes time. We can only help with what we can control.