As millions of Americans remain home due to the ongoing pandemic, residential energy usage has skyrocketed. Home energy usage is up nearly 30% since the pandemic has started. Power operators nationally are rushing to adjust to this increased energy demand to ensure all residential homes have enough power to meet energy demand.
Power grids are used to high energy usage in the mornings and evenings, but high energy usage is needed virtually all day since most of the country’s population is home. This increase in usage leads to higher energy bills. There are several things Americans can do to increase energy efficiency and lower their energy consumption.
Many don’t recognize that one of the most impactful ways to increase energy efficiency in their homes is to modify daily habits. In order to change your habits, you must be aware of them first. For example, turning off lights or appliances when they are not being used can save energy and money over the course of a month.
Water heating is a significant portion of your monthly energy consumption. With everyone home all day, it is likely that your water heating usage has gone up significantly. From cooking to showering, it’s easy to rely on your water heater throughout the day. Besides purchasing a new, energy efficient water heater, there are other ways to reduce your water heating usage. For example, you can simply use less hot water in your home. You can also turn down the temperature of your water heater or insulate your water heater. These steps will help you decrease your water heater usage and reduce your energy consumption.
Windows can be a huge energy drain in your home. If you have weak or energy inefficient windows, the heating in your home will be subpar. Weak windows like this can cost you up to 25 percent of your monthly energy bill. Installing gas-filled windows with low-e coatings can optimize your heating and reduce your heating costs significantly. Energy STAR approved windows can save you $20-$95 each year on your utility bills.
Since everyone in your family is likely home, there’s probably an array of electronic devices being used at once. Most people don’t realize that even when your device is not being used, it still consumes power. The Department of Energy stated that standby energy costs houses in the U.S. over $100 annually. Power strips can ensure that all the standby devices at your home are not using power. Unplugging devices when they’re not in use along with using power strips can save significant amounts of energy and money on your monthly bill.
Your current appliances may be the single largest factor in determining your monthly energy usage. Your appliances, devices and equipment you use at your home are the biggest consumers of energy. For example, laptops consume less than one fifth of the energy a desktop computer consumes annually. Energy STAR estimates that transitioning to switching over to energy-efficient appliances and equipment can save over 75 percent of your energy consumption.
But remember, reducing usage is only one way to save on electricity bills. The other is your electricity rate. Go to the SaveOnEnergy.com marketplace and enter your ZIP code for help with the rate part of the equation.
Dhoof Mohamed writes about energy and IT topics for various clients. His academic interests include solar energy initiatives and the future of sustainable energy. His articles have appeared on SiteProNews, ChooseFlorida and the office of the U.S. Embassy. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.