We've all read numerous tips on how to save energy, from turning off the lights when you leave a room to looking for the ENERGY STAR logo when shopping for new appliances, but do they really help that much?
Yes! There's a reason we see similar energy-saving tips over and over again: Every single step you take to save energy helps you save money and reduce your impact on the environment. Where SaveOnEnergy.com's list of tips excels is in the details. We've explained why each of these tips is so important, along with how you can implement them.
For example, if every American simply replaced one light bulb with a more energy-efficient variety, we would save about $600 million in energy costs and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That's equal to lighting up 3 million homes and keeping 800,000 cars off the road annually.
One light bulb can do all that. Imagine the impact you can make with these quick changes - and by encouraging your friends and neighbors to make these changes, too.
5 ways to save energy that are free and easy to implement
1. Turn off the fan when you leave a room.
Why: Fans don't cool the air - they only cool people by blowing warm, still air across their skin. The motor on the fan actually adds heat to the room - another reason to turn it off when you leave.
How: Just like turning off the lights and electronics when you leave a room, turn off the fan. It sets a good example for the younger generation that waste is never a good thing.
2. Close your drapes or drop your window shades during the day.
Why: Keeping sunlight out during the heat of the day keeps the house cooler. In the winter, doing the opposite lets the warm sunlight in.
How: Consider moving your furniture around with the seasons to take advantage of or avoid the sun. Eating breakfast near a sunny window can start your chilly winter day off right.
3. Wash your clothes in cold water.
Why: Ninety percent of the energy used to wash your clothes is for heating the water.
How: Cold water is just as effective for getting clothes clean with today's high-efficiency washers and cold water-formulated detergents.
4. Wrap or cover foods and drinks in the refrigerator.
Why: When foods release moisture they make the compressor work harder to keep the unit cold.
How: Take a few seconds to put on some plastic wrap to trap that moisture. Better yet, put that food in a reusable container with a lid to avoid having to throw away the plastic wrap.
5. Always use the cold water faucet, unless you really want hot water.
Why: Turning on the hot water faucet (or placing the faucet lever to hot or warm) requires energy to heat the water, even if it doesn't reach the faucet before you turn it off.
How: Use cold water, especially for cooking. Hot water from the tap absorbs more lead and other contaminants from pipes.