Energy conservation is a term we’ve been hearing more and more, and for good reason. 80 to 85 percent of our planet’s energy is supplied by fossil fuels. However, these sources—such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas—are not only harmful to the environment, but also detrimental to human health.
So what can we do to help mitigate these issues? Follow along with us as we go through what energy conservation is, why it’s important, and effective energy conservation techniques you can incorporate into your daily life.
What Is Energy Conservation?
Energy conservation is the practice of reducing activities that consume energy. This may involve integrating habits and specific appliances/devices to mitigate the amount of energy you spend in your home, vehicle, and office.
Why Is Energy Conservation Important?
Practicing energy conservation is an integral part of our transition to clean and renewable energy. By decreasing the amount of air and water pollution, we can boost our well-being and help our environment. It’s essential to preserve energy and use renewable resources so that clean energy is available for future generations.
Conserving energy is important for the following two reasons.
It Saves and Brings in Money
A common misconception is that energy conservation products are expensive and not worth investing in. Though the upfront costs may be high, the long-term savings and benefits outrun these expenses:
- You can save up to $500 a year on your household’s utility bill by using energy-efficient appliances.
- According to the same NRDC findings above, the clean energy industry has generated more than 2.2 million jobs in the US. This is five times higher than the amount of jobs in non-renewable industry.
- Findings from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) show that “211 gigawatts of current US coal capacity, 74 percent of the coal fleet, is providing electricity that’s more expensive than wind or solar.”
- In the Pacific Northwest, investments in energy efficiency have saved people about $3.75 billion per year.
It Reduces Our Carbon Footprint and Saves Lives
Using less energy allows us to decrease the amount of toxic fumes released by power plants, which helps alleviate pollution and climate change. Moreover, it preserves the earth’s ecosystems and human health.
Non-renewable energy is harmful to our environment and our health. What does this exactly look like? The following statistics illustrate staggering findings:
- Air pollution from power generation causes 52,000 premature deaths per year.
- Health costs associated with premature births from air pollutants add up to an estimated $5.09 billion.
- If we decrease our energy consumption by 15 percent for one year, we can help save six American lives a day and avoid up to $20 billion in health-related problems.
How Can We Help Save Energy?
The good news is, there are several energy conservation techniques you can incorporate into your day-to-day life. Below are six productive ways you can start conserving energy.
1. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
The best place to start conserving energy is determining which household devices you can replace for energy-efficient products. If you’re using traditional incandescent lightbulbs, switch them out for ENERGY STAR certified light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs. By using these, you’ll use 25 to 80 percent less energy. And better yet, they’ll last you three to twenty-five times longer than incandescent lightbulbs!
2. Find Products That Offer Energy Savings Mode
There are several smart home devices today that not only help make your lifestyle easier, but also offer convenient eco-friendly features that save you money. Take, for example, tilt’s app, which now carries an energy savings mode. This feature, which can be used with both our blinds and shades products, senses the temperature at the window and adjusts the roller shades and blinds automatically to help regulate your home’s temperature.
Incorporating smart home products that offer energy-saving features such as tilt’s can help you conserve energy and enjoy a lighter utility bill.
3. Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances
Did you know the appliances in your home such as your washer, dryer, refrigerator, and humidifiers account for about 20 percent of your energy bill? Look for energy-efficient appliances such as those with the ENERGY STAR label, which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy. By using ENERGY STAR appliances, you will use 10 to 50 percent less energy each year.
Recycle all of your cans, plastic water bottles, and newspapers. Recycling conserves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Not to mention it reduces the need to gather new raw materials, which helps alleviate pollution.
And if you haven’t already, move away from plastic water bottles and invest in BPA-free reusable water bottles. 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year, and these plastic bottles kill 1.1 million marine creatures annually. Transitioning to reusable bottles will encourage you to drink more water too!
5. Use Cold Water for Laundry
As 75 to 90 percent of all the energy your washing machine uses goes towards just heating the water, be sure to wash your clothes in cold water. By washing four loads of laundry in cold water, you could reduce 864 pounds worth of CO2 emissions in a year, which is “equivalent to planting 0.37 acres of U.S. forest”!
6. Plant Trees and Shrubs
If you’re thinking long-term, planting trees and shrubs around your home is a great idea. They’ll provide your home with shade during the summer and serve as a windbreak to shield you from cold air during the winter.
According to TreePeople, if you place three trees strategically around a single-family home, you can reduce “summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent.” Moreover, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into our air.
Though the term energy conservation may sound like a monumental undertaking, if you really think about it, it all comes down to the choices that we make each day. We should not overlook the small choices we make, as these decisions will add up to bring significant changes. Integrating the right energy conservation techniques will help pave the way towards a cleaner and healthier future.