Becoming energy efficient isn’t as easy as turning off a light switch – OK, maybe it can be. However, to truly decrease energy consumption, you’re going to have to make some conscious efforts in your daily routine. In the hour or two before you leave for work, consider the following ways to increase energy efficiency in the morning to help decrease your carbon footprint.

Take a shorter, cooler shower

No one can resist a hot shower, but did you know water heating can account for 12 percent of your utility bill? Try cutting your shower time in half. A shorter shower will equal less energy usage, and in turn, can reduce your heating bill. If you lower the temperature on your water heater to 120oF, you could save around 3 percent off your bill as well.

• Don’t let your water run

When you brush your teeth, it’s a good idea to be diligent and take your time. It’s not a good idea to let the water run the entire time, though. Only let the water run when you need it, and not when your toothbrush is nowhere near the faucet.

• Be mindful of outlets

If you blow dry your hair, use a curling iron, use an actual iron or anything that plugs into the wall, then be mindful of how long you have your device plugged in. It’s ideal to use a power strip; that way when you’re done with your morning routine, you can simply flip a single switch instead of unplugging many electronics. If you keep appliances plugged in, even if they’re turned off, they could still be using small amounts of power that, if continuously plugged in, could eventually consume a great deal of energy.

Open your blinds and switch to LEDs

If you have windows that allow light inside your home, use them to your advantage. Lighting takes up about 14% of utility bills, and by cutting down on the time spent with lights on, the less you’ll end up paying at the end of the month. Natural light is perfect for getting dressed and cooking breakfast. For the rooms where you don’t have a lot of sunlight, switch out your incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

• Use the bathroom fan

After a shower you’ll notice extra humidity or heat in your bathroom. Turn on the vent or fan in your bathroom to relieve the area of excess humidity that could cause a rise in temperature. By using a fan, you’ll help maintain your home’s temperature and keep your air conditioning from turning on when you don’t want it to. Be sure to turn it off, however, before you leave the house.

There are tons of ways to cut back on energy consumption in the mornings, so feel free to do your own research and find even more ways to save energy. Take the first step and use less electricity. Only you can control your carbon footprint at home.

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