Have you ever wondered how much energy you use on a day to day basis? I have. And lucky for me, my power company offers a little monitor that I can plug into the wall to monitor exactly how much energy I'm using every day. Since it's green week, I thought I would share a few simple ways that I've been able to reduce my electric bill.
1. Unplug electronics that aren't in use. This is especially true for cell phone chargers, which are consuming electricity, even when your phone isn't being charged. I unplug the coffee maker and toaster every morning, and I shut down and unplug my laptop every night. Even when your computer is in sleep mode, it's still consuming about 85% of the electricity it would if it was being used. By unplugging my appliances, I've seen my power bill drop from $3 a day to under $1 a day.
2. Replace your old light bulbs with CFL bulbs. According to MSN Money, CFL's use up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Although these bulbs are more expensive than old school light bulbs, you can get them in bulk at Costco to save money. And since you won't be replacing them as often, you end up saving money in the long run.
3. Opt for energy efficient appliances. Many of us are already aware of the Energy Star ratings for big appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. But did you know that TV's are now being rated for their energy efficiency? I was shocked to find out just how much electricity a TV consumes! According to a segment on NPR this week:
For example, when measured with a wattmeter, the high-end Pioneer Elite, a 50-inch plasma TV, idles at about 390 watts. That's like turning on 30 compact fluorescent light bulbs all at once. And if you assume that the set will be on for five hours a day, the set consumes a lot more electricity than a typical refrigerator. When the TV is in a slightly dimmer, energy-saving mode, it only uses 300 watts, which matches its Energy Star listing.
Still, your friendly neighborhood coal-burning power plant would emit a half-ton of carbon dioxide every year to keep this one TV on for five hours a day -- and that's in energy-saving mode.
A smaller TV, of course, would consume less energy. But your TV is consuming electricity, even when it's turned off. Since the NPR segment, I've decided to plug our TV into a power strip, along with the DVD player and Playstation, and then unplug the power strip when we're not using the TV.
4. Watch your thermostat. If you live in a place like Arizona, turning off your air conditioner really isn't an option. But for every 1 degree you raise your thermostat, you could be saving 2% on your power bill. Ceiling fans consume less energy than central air, so consider installing one of these to save money in the long term. In the winter time, space heaters could save you money versus central heating.
Green week might be about the environment, but going green can save you some green. To add up all the money you'll save by reducing your energy consumption, check out this chart over at Get Rich Slowly. Got any more suggestions? Be sure to leave your tips in the comments section.
Cross-posted from Queercents.