The company that provides our utilities just started adding a new item to our monthly bill. They decided to tell us each month how much more energy and money we are spending as opposed to our “energy efficient neighbors”. Our last bill said, “You are spending $446.64 more per year more than your efficient neighbors.” Yikes! This is definitely motivating to me to be better about saving energy and money.
I have one neighbor who has told me SHE is the energy-efficient neighbor spoken of in our bill. It’s my goal to be her by next summer! So, there are a few small changes we can make to become energy efficient, save money, and in the process, save energy both for ourselves and for the environment.
In the kitchen:
- Cooking uses energy! The general guideline is to prepare food that takes less than 30 minutes to cook. We could totally do this!
- Slice thin! Cutting vegetables thinly cooks faster than thick veggies, saving energy.
- Replace kitchen light bulbs with energy efficient ones. We use our kitchen lights more than any lights in the house. We literally live in our kitchen. So this small change will pay off big time!
- Grow our own food! We don’t have to stop the growing season with winter. We can plant herbs in the window sill, or sprout seeds all year long.
- Less waste! We waste a lot of food! We can be better about composting, re-purposing leftovers, and using up what we have.
Around the house
- A huge energy drain is escaping heat or cold air. We have a gorgeous front door, with one problem. The bottom of the door doesn’t meet the ground! A $10 weather stripping panel from The Home Depot can block the gap so we don’t lose precious heat from our house.
Recycle paper! We are so good at recycling cardboard and aluminum, but when it comes to office paper, we throw away a lot. Why don’t we just turn over one used side and put it right back into the printer? I’m putting a box for paper that has only one side used by the printer, so we can use it a second time.
Turn off the lights! That neighbor of mine who says she’s “the energy-efficient neighbor,” credits it all to her diligence in keeping lights off. She says she turns lights off all the time!
Unplug! The ‘standby’ energy used to keep power available to appliances and electronics, even when they are turned off, drains energy! It’s better to UNPLUG items when not in use than to allow them to use standby energy.
Checking the dryer for doneness. I know my dryer runs much longer than it needs to. I need to check the clothes; if they are dry, I turn the dryer off.
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