You've most likely heard it said that time is money. As it turns out, energy is also money. The more energy you use, the more money you'll have to spend. If you cut back on certain energy sources, such as using less electricity, you'll end up with a smaller bill at the end of the month. In addition to saving money, you'll save precious resources that in many cases can't be renewed.
Use less water. In most cases, you have to pay for water in two ways. First, you have to pay for the water that comes into your house; then you have to pay to heat it, typically using gas or electricity. Cut down on your energy use and lower your bills by reducing the length of your showers or by showering with your partner. Only run your washing machine or dishwasher when they are full. Try washing clothing using cold water. You most likely won't even notice a difference in the cleanness of your clothing.
Turn things off when you are not using them. It's a myth that it uses more energy to power down your computer than to leave it on all the time. Get in the habit of switching lights off when you leave a room. You may want to plug certain appliances, such as your television and stereo, into a power strip. Turn the power strip off when not using the appliances so that they do not continue to drain electricity. You should notice a dip in your electric bill once you start switching things off.
Drive efficiently to cut gasoline use and cost. According to the United States Department of Energy, driving aggressively -- speeding up quickly and slamming on your brakes -- uses extra gasoline. Keep your speed under 60 miles per hour to use the least amount of gasoline. Make sure your tires have the proper amount of air in them so that you get the best gas mileage.
Trade in older appliances for newer, more energy efficient ones. Most likely, the money you save on energy for powering the new appliances will make up for the cost of the appliances. Also trade your incandescent light bulbs in for compact fluorescent ones, which use less energy. They will cost more upfront, but last far longer than incandescent bulbs.
Use a programmable thermostat. In the winter, lower the heat at night and when you are gone during the day. In the summer, program the air conditioner to turn on when you are home and off when you are not. Save energy and money by setting the heat as low as you can stand and the air conditioning as hot as you can bear.
- If you switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, they are considered to be household hazardous waste and require special methods of disposal, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see Resources). Your community may have options for recycling them. If not, place the used bulb in two plastic bags and then seal them to protect the environment before you discard a compact fluorescent bulb in your garbage.
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