Almost every part of our lives is intertwined with electricity. We wake up, turn on our lights, take a shower, cook some breakfast all through the power of electricity. I’m sure that without it, many of us would lose our daily routine. What most of us forget though is the impact that electricity usage has on the environment. Most of the ways that electricity is generated releases harmful greenhouse gasses. Although it may seem daunting, there are a few small steps we could take to reduce our energy consumption to lessen these greenhouse gasses. Now let me introduce 5 ways that you can reduce your energy consumption:
1. Decrease Water Usage
Water is a vital and integral part of our day. We start by washing our face in the morning and end by washing the dishes at night. We use water without thinking about the consequences of its waste on the environment. The water that comes from your faucet has to undergo a few processes before making its way into your house. It has to undergo a step by step process of using energy, money, and a filtration system before being able to be used by most people. These steps of filtering water come at the expense of using fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy, causing greenhouse gasses to occur. You can decrease the amount of water that you use in a day by taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off when washing dishes and only using the laundry machine when you have a full load.
2. Unplug Outlets That are not Being Used
Many of us leave our phones, laptops and other electrical devices plugged in even when they are at full battery. I’m sure many of us also leave our chargers in our wall outlets even if it is not charging anything at all. Although this may seem small, it can actually cause a great deal of stress to the environment. Unplugging your outlets when they are not in use takes you one step closer to support energy conservation. It is estimated that approximately 10% of energy could potentially be saved if you unplugged your appliances when not in use. This not only saves your money, but also does less harm to the environment. If done consistently, this small act can reduce your overall energy consumption and prevent the dangerous byproduct of greenhouse gasses from occurring.
3. Buy Efficient Light Bulbs
Something that you may consider changing to is LED lighting rather than incandescent bulbs. Incandescent lighting, although cheaper to purchase, is quite energy inefficient. In a ‘Square One’ article, it is shown that incandescent bulbs only convert 20 percent of its energy into light, leaving the remaining 80 percent to be lost to heat. However for LED lights it’s the exact opposite, meaning that energy is greatly conserved. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also saves you money. As mentioned before, people may buy incandescent lights because they are cheaper in price, however LED bulbs are actually more budget friendly. LED lights tend to last much longer than incandescent ones making them more cost effective and a better investment in the long run. Not to mention, if they last longer you reduce the amount of waste that you produce!
4. Run Full Loads of Laundry
A simple chore that many of us do is laundry. A laundry machine itself uses a lot of energy and has a few environmental impacts. In the United States, laundry machines make up around 8.3 percent of carbon emissions. That number may seem daunting, however, there are simple ways to combat it. Washing machines typically use the same amount of water and energy for each load, so running full loads of laundry is a good way to help reduce your energy consumption. Another effective method is to hang your clothes rather than sticking them in the dryer. If you live in a place with nice enough weather, your household can save up to 10 to 20 percent in costs by just hanging up clothes while saving a good chunk of energy at the same time.
5. Turn off your Lights
Many of us leave a room and come back hours later only to realize that we left the lights on the entire time that we’ve been gone. This is a habit that we should try to break as it has many environmental consequences. A study was done showing that 6.5 million people located in the United Kingdom admitted to leaving the lights on even when it was not necessary. This unnecessary waste of energy can lead to large amounts of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. A quick and easy fix would be to turn your lights off when you can. If it is early in the morning, open your blinds to let natural light in and ensure that you turn off your lights when leaving a room.
These 5 simple rules should give you a better step in the right direction when it comes to lessening your energy consumption.
About the author: Whadia Khwaja is an Environment Science student at McMaster University located in Hamilton, ON. She’s passionate about environmental causes and is keen on sharing eco-friendly tips. She hopes that by sharing her knowledge she can inspire others about these issues.