To say our daily lives have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began at the end of last year is an understatement. And while most shelter in place orders have been lifted in the United States, the majority of us continue to work and/or study at home in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. So, although a large number of schools have reopened for the semester with comprehensive COVID-19 protocols, many parents have chosen to continue homeschooling their children.
While many households are enjoying the extra time at home that comes from working and learning at home in attempts to stay safe during the pandemic, they’re also experiencing a steady rise in their energy consumption. Using more electricity is an inevitable consequence of staying home more, but there are lots of simple things you can do to keep your energy bills in check during the pandemic. Here are some of our favorite tricks to cut back on household energy use while homeschooling your kids and/or working from home.
8 Ways to Cut Your Energy Use at Home
- Locate your “classroom” near a window if possible – This will allow you to take advantage of natural lighting during the day and avoid the need for artificial lights.
- Teach your kids to unplug all electronic devices at the end of each school day – This is one of the easiest things you can do to improve energy efficiency in the home. Small appliances and electronic devices, including chargers for laptops and phones, use energy even when they aren’t being used. When they are being used, tablets, TVs, and other electronic devices account for up to 12% of energy use.
- 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, while efficiently distributing energy to appliances.
- Switch to LED light bulbs throughout your home – LED light bulbs are highly efficient: they use at least 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs AND last up to 25 times longer.
- Keep your refrigerator closed – Do your kids like to hold the refrigerator door open while they look for something to eat? This can certainly raise your household energy consumption. Remind everyone in your house (not just your children) to stop holding the door open while they’re contemplating their next snack or meal.
- When cooking a small amount of food for your family, avoid using the oven in your range – “Cooking a meatloaf in a full-size electric oven for an hour costs 24 cents while cooking it in a toaster oven for about the same amount of time costs 11 cents,” says Consumer Reports, drawing on research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Additionally, a toaster oven is said to use half the energyof 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. Using your small kitchen appliances as opposed to your oven or stovetop can save significant energy.
- Remind your kids to turn off the lights when they exit a room – In addition to turning off your lights manually, you may want to consider using sensors, timers, and other automatic lighting controls.
- Program your thermostat to save more energy – Lowering your thermostat one degree when heating or raising it one degree when cooling can cut your energy use by up to 5 percent.
Learn More from Kiwi Energy’s Blog
As American families and businesses transition to remote-work and homeschooling, there are plenty of energy-saving steps we can all take to help keep our electric costs in check without jeopardizing safety or comfort. These are just some of the ways you can cut back on energy usage while homeschooling your children. Be sure to stay tuned on our blog for more energy-saving tips and tricks.
Additionally, Kiwi Energy has partnered with Cinch Home Services to introduce a new level of home protection to qualified New York Customers. Your heating and cooling system is now included in Kiwi Guard, so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your HVAC system is covered throughout your agreement with Kiwi Energy. Click here to learn more about Kiwi Guard.