Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Most people try to cut down on energy usage because of economic reasons, green reasons or both. Electricity, heat and hot water aren’t free, and simplifying how you cut back on them can reap lots of rewards. Most people already know the basics, such as replacing bulbs with CFLs, turning off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, turning down the thermostat. But it’s easy to forget to do the things that require our active attention. Here are three ways that I simplify my energy savings:
I keep my house cool in the winter, and warmish in the summer. And when we’re not home, I like to minimize the time the a/c or heat is running. But I’m also terrible at remembering change the thermostat before leaving home, or remembering to turn it back.
Enter the programmable thermostat.
This inexpensive and easy-to-install device does the remembering for me. In winter, it turns the heat down to 63 from 11pm until 6 am, then turns the heat up to 68 until we are out of the house by 8am, then turns it back up before we get home. (The reverse is true of the air conditioning, with different temperatures). As a result, my heat goes up and down without me thinking about it, and I’m not heating unused space. As a side note, I don’t worry about the animals at home when the temp goes down to 63. They’re usually in a sun patch or under a blanket anyway, regardless of temperatures.
Smart power strips
Our entertainment center was always having something left on. If it wasn’t the Wii, it was the DVD player or the tuner. Even worse, these were behind a cabinet door, so we wouldn’t always know if they were left on.
I tried a smart power strip on this area, and it has worked beautifully. I plug the television (actually BOB) into the always on part of the strip, and everything else to the controlled plugs. When the power goes off on the television, everything else turns off.
Many appliances these days come with an auto-off feature where the appliance will turn itself off after a certain period of time. While I believe this was for safety originally (most of these appliances are also heat sources), it also works for energy savings.
Look for appliances that have this feature when it is time to buy. My iron and curling brush will turn themselves off if they are left on, and this minimizes fire risk, and saves me electricity.
More generalized than the programmable thermostats are my appliance timers. I use these not only to start appliances up, but to turn them off. My coffee pot is a good example. I like having coffee ready when I wake up, and I always forget to turn the pot off. A simple appliance timer takes care of both of these things.
There are other forms of timers or sensors that can help with safety lighting. Many of my neighbors have light-sensing fixtures on their outdoor lights that turn them on at dusk. We use an outdoor timer to control the safety lighting in our backyard.
Do you have any ways to help save energy or automate saving energy? Share below.
Photo by Caveman Chuck Coker