Simple and Effective Tips to Help You Save Energy (and Money)
I am sure we have all seen and heard the advertisements urging us to Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle.
I am also reasonably certain that most of us just went right to the end of that slogan, started doing a little bit of recycling and gave ourselves a big fat pat on the back for being so eco-friendly. Phew! Glad that’s over!
That response may have been good enough 10 or 15 years ago but it’s becoming very obvious that only concentrating on that last component of the strategy will not solve any of our most pressing problems.
So what is an ordinary, average person or family to do?
When I asked myself that question, I thought I’d start at the beginning because that seems like the most logical place to begin. What I found though, when I did that, was that Reduce appears to be the least palatable of all the components of the strategy.
Reduce is the most inconvenient component. The part of the slogan that requires us to actually do less, have less, use less. Ouch! No wonder I didn’t really notice it before.
Perhaps though, we can find ways to reduce our consumption without it actually negatively impacting on our sense of wellbeing. Do you think that is possible? Would you be willing to try? You would? That’s Fantastic!
Welcome to the Energy Saving Challenge.
A series of Tips to get those of us who have decided to take the bull by the horns and really get serious about REDUCING our impact on the planet (and maybe save some money along the way)
Here is our Energy Saving Challenge Tip number 1:
(a) Change one incandescent light bulb for an energy saving compact fluorescent bulb each time you do your family food shopping – which is once a week or once a fortnight (2 weeks) for most families.
I know they are more expensive to buy but just look at what I found out about them:
If you replace a 75 watt incandescent with an equivalent compact fluorescent you will get exactly the same amount of light but it will save you time and money.
They save you money because they are incredibly efficient using only about one quarter of those ‘ordinary’ bulbs. Did you get that? You could cut your lighting bill by one quarter if you change all your incandescent bulbs over to compact fluorescent bulbs.
They save you time because they last so long. You don’t have to go out and buy replacements and you don’t have to get out the ladder and change them because they can last for up to 10,000 hours. That is more than a whole year if you left it running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How long would it last if you only used it for a few hours each evening? I’ve had one in a lamp for more than 4 years! Talk about value for money.
WARNING: All fluorescent lighting (even those long ones and the circle ones from the 1950’s) will eventually fail and they must not be put into your household rubbish. They all contain a little mercury and we don’t want that escaping out into the world, so find out from your local Council or Authority the best way to recycle them.
I did see an advertisement from a large hardware chain that you could recycle them through their stores so that would be well worth checking out.
There are many reason why we are turning our attention to saving energy. For many people it is purely an economic decision. I mean, who wants to give the electricity provider their hard earned cash?
By doing just a few small things we can all save a considerable sum over the course of a year.
Our first tip for saving energy and money was to change all your incandescet bulbs for the more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. Just doing this one thing has the potential to save you 75% of your lighting bill from the electricity company. In Australia that can equal up to $10 per year for every light you change over. In my house that is $180 a year, every year. Not too shabby I say.
So in terms of lighting what else can the average person or family do to further impact the energy (and money) savings.
The first one is so obvious it’s almost embarrassing mentioning it. However, knowing how long it took our family to get into the habit, I’m going to mention it.
(b) Turn off your lights when they are not required.
If you walk past a room where the light is on but no-one is home… turn off the light.
If you leave a room with a light on, turn it off.
Now some will argue that turning lights on and off all the time uses more electricity. That may have been true at one time but recent studies have shown that if the light is going to be off for more than 30 seconds, they you will save more energy than will be required to turn it back on again.
So, I don’t know what it will take to bring this behaviour change into your family, it took us a long while to make it second nature but it really is worth it. Imagine if you turn half your lights off most of the time the amount of money (and energy) you will save. This had got to be a win-win situation right?
I suggest you talk with your family or house-mates and get agreement before you become obsessed with turning off the lights – that way everyone will understand why you are stomping around and giving them ‘the look’ each time they leave a light on that isn’t required.
(c) Another thing that people often do is to leave outside lights on all night, or even accidentally leaving them on during the day. This is very common and can cost you a lot of money. So just get into the habit of checking that all the outdoor lights are turned off if you are not actually using them. Have you considered looking into those handy little solar powered lights instead? They can be really effective and all the energy they use is provided by the solar panel and won’t cost you a penny.
(d) The last tip for today is more of a housekeeping issue really. Have you looked at your light fittings lately?
Having dust on your light fittings diminishes the amount of light you are gaining and that can mean you will turn on extra lights to make up the difference. Clean the fittings on your ceiling and wall mounted lights, dust the shades on your lamps and just see the light shine once more. Maybe you don’t really need that extra lamp after all?
So there you have it. Four things you can start doing today, right now that will save you energy, and save you money no questions asked.
Take the challenge, give it a go, do your bit, pocket the cash.
Sounds pretty amazing to me that something so simple could be so very effective.