Most of us have been bunkering down in our homes for the past several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the house only for essential activities. Days filled with virtual meetings, cooking projects, online fitness classes, and binge-watching our favorite TV shows have become the new normal as many of us have adjusted to working or studying from home.
But all of this extra time at home and all of these activities can have a negative effect by increasing our energy usage, leading to an increase in carbon emissions and raising our household electricity bills.
6 Tips for Conserving Energy While Staying Home
COVID-19 has undoubtedly slowed down travel, and we’re not just talking about vacation travel. It has reduced the amount of travel we’re doing in our daily lives getting to and from work, school, or social occasions. This slower lifestyle has caused many people to pause to take a look at the bigger picture, particularly in terms of how to economize and how to live more sustainably.
This, of course, involves finding creative ways to conserve energy, which the coronavirus has taught us a lot about.
Keep reading below for some of our favorite tips for optimizing energy conservation while spending more time at home and practicing social distancing and self-quarantine.
- Remember to shut off lights that are not in use during the day and turn off all lights (including outdoor lights) before going to bed.
- Use natural light throughout the day if you can—the best way to do this is to locate your workspace near a window. You can also use mirrors to help reflect more light into your home.
- Start doing nighttime activities with the family, like dinner and card games, by
- If you still haven’t upgraded the lighting in your home to LED lighting, be sure to grab some LED lightbulbs the next time you run out for groceries. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that LED lightbulbs utilize 75% less electricity than traditional bulbs and will last you up to 25 times longer
2. Ensure that your home is decorated to promote energy efficiency
- Place curtains, drapes, and furniture away from air vents in order to avoid causing your air conditioning to work harder
- Be strategic with how you use your windows and blinds. Roughly 30% of unwanted heat comes in through your windows, so keeping curtains and blinds closed in rooms facing the sun when you are not working there will help, particularly during peak sunlight hours.
3. Air dry your clothes
- Air drying your clothes, either outside or on a clothing rack, is a great way to cut back on energy use while doing your laundry. If it’s too damp in your climate to dry clothes this way, there are things you can do to utilize your clothing dryer more efficiently. For example, cleaning your lint trap regularly and drying lighter garments separately from heavier garments can help reduce drying time.
4. Air dry your dishes
- In the same way as your clothing, you can switch off the heated dry cycle from your dishwasher and air dry your dishes by opening the dishwasher or placing the dishes on a rack.
5. Turn off and unplug electronics when you call it a day, and/or use power strips
- Did you know that leaving a computer on all day can cost you up to $75 per year? That’s why you should always remember to turn off your computer when you’re done working for the day.
Also, take the time each evening to unplug devices you are not using. According to The Natural Resources Defense Council, the cost of plugged-in but not used devices (also known as “energy vampires”) is about $165 per household every year.
- You can also use a power strip to control the power used by idle appliances. Power strips don’t just prevent energy vampires from draining unnecessary energy, they also help avoid overloading electrical outlets, and efficiently distribute energy to appliances.
6. Use your slow cooker, microwave, or toaster oven
- Using your small kitchen appliances as opposed to your oven or stovetop can lead to significant energy conservation. In fact, a toaster oven is said to use half the energy of an oven, or less, for the same cooking time, and cooking or reheating food in the microwave can save as much as 80% of the energy used to warm it in the oven.
Get More Ideas for Sustainable Living from the Kiwi Energy Blog
As many of us have started to recognize with all our extra time at home, saving energy will help save money during what has become a financially challenging time for many. The above are some of our favorite ways to conserve energy while working or studying from home. There are lots of other creative ways to optimize your home for energy conservation, just stay tuned to our blog for more ideas!
And if you haven’t yet, start powering your home with Kiwi Energy today! We offer lots of options for helping our customers be more energy efficient—from energy-efficient products available for redemption through our Ecogold loyalty program to our new partnership with Cinch Home Services, which provides HVAC protection for your home.