Reduce energy usage in your home with information from Sustainable Home by Christine Liu @SimplyByChristine as part of our Read and Go Green campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Find books about the planet, going green, and saving the environment on our landing pages. Receive 30% off + free shipping with offer code EARTHDAY on select kids books at https://quartokno.ws/Kids and adult titles at https://quartokno.ws/Adult. Active now through April 30th, 2020.
Energy consumption is one of the leading causes of climate change. Though it is caused by various sources, households are responsible for 29 percent of energy consumed throughout the world, and as a result, contribute to 21 percent of total CO2 emissions. About 80 per cent of the world’s energy is generated from nonrenewable sources, usually fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. These fuels were formed after prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock, but the process to mine for fossil fuels is energy and resource intensive. In addition, major environmental harm is attributed to major oil spills, which have an immediate and devastating impact on local wildlife, ecosystems and communities.
Clean Energy – Reduce and Unplug
The easiest way to improve your energy use is to simply consider all the appliances that are currently turned on. Do they need to be on? Can a space be shared with another individual in your home to optimize the amount of lighting needed? Bring the party and the guests to one room, and keep all the action in the living space so you can keep the rest of the home switched off (it’ll save you money, too). If you’re streaming data or using the internet, use only when you need to, in order to ease up on the energy needed to power the internet’s data centres. Practically speaking, this could mean watching an online video in a lower pixel quality to decrease data usage, or not letting online programmes run when not in use.
When electronics are not in use, especially when you’re away from home or out for a longer vacation, unplug them! No need to keep your internet modem, router, lamps, and desktop computers plugged in for a week when no one will be using them. In addition, power cords and chargers that are plugged in without being actively used still draw out energy – also known as vampire energy – which can add 10 percent to your energy bill. When you include all the homes in the United States, this amounts to about twenty-six average-sized power plants.
Maximizing daylight and sun when and where possible is another easy way to ‘unplug’ as an alternative to turning on lights. Natural light has many positive benefits too – keeping your home warm during the day, providing light for indoor activities, and reducing mould and bacterial growth. It is also known to keep you happier, more productive, and calm, which is a win-win for both yourself and the planet. You can increase natural light in your home by keeping curtains and blinds open, having light-colored walls and furniture, or by positioning mirrors opposite windows – not only to give you a quick look at your day’s outfit, but also to brighten the room by reflecting light. Experimenting with how furniture is placed in a room can also help increase the amount of light that enters your window, as it is absorbed and reflected against different surfaces.
When it is time to turn on the lights at night, making the simple switch from a traditional incandescent bulb (500 kg CO2e for 1 year’s worth of energy) to a low-energy bulb (90 kg CO2e for 1 year’s worth of energy) is a great way to reduce your energy usage – as long as you continue to train yourself to turn off the lights more. If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs, the world would save $120 billion per year on energy costs!
Reducing your electricity consumption can also be achieved by opting for energy efficient products. When you’re in the market for a new lamp, television or stereo, keep an eye out for low-impact products with certifications such as the Energy Star label. These certifications are often backed by government environmental agencies, and provide third party ratings and information on the energy efficiencies of consumer electronics and home appliances.
Remember to only buy new when your product is beyond repair though, as manufacturing emissions can negate the reduced carbon impact of a new, ‘efficient’ appliance. It takes just a little bit of practice to be become aware of what is and isn’t in use, and what you should unplug or switch off. Again, these principles are not only useful for a living space full of electronics, but other rooms throughout the home that house your lamps, spare chargers, and more.