CenterPoint Home Energy Program
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How can we conserve energy without spending any money

To start with, here are some quick and easy energy conservation methods that won’t cost you anything; in fact they’ll probably save you money.

In the Kitchen:

If you’re boiling water, use a kettle or put a lid on the saucepan; the water will come to a boil sooner and use less energy.

If you’re boiling an egg, turn the heat off early and let the egg finish cooking in the residual heat.

If you’re cooking something from frozen, plan in advance and take it out of the freezer in plenty of time to thaw properly. Otherwise you’ll waste energy by defrosting it in the oven or microwave.

During colder months, when you’re done cooking something in the oven, leave the oven door open afterwards for a while, so the heat can warm up your kitchen. However, don’t do this if there are small children or curious pets about that could get burnt.

Don’t place your fridge or freezer near a heat source (such as your oven) or in direct sunlight.

Don’t let your fridge use too much energy by keeping it colder than it needs to be- below 40 degrees is best.

For the same reason, keep your freezer set at 0 degrees. 

An outdoor clothes line is the most energy-saving way to dry clothes – and a great example of how to conserve energy resources. If it’s raining, using an indoor clothes line is better than a tumble dryer.

Throughout the rest of your home:

One of the best ways of conserving energy is to turn down the thermostat on your heating. Even turning it down by just one degree can save you money. If you feel a bit chilly, just put on an extra sweater …

Get a free smart meter – ask your energy supplier whether they can install one in your home. Smart meters come with a handy In-Home Display that shows you all kinds of data about your energy use. You can then use that information to see where you’re using more energy than you need, and how you can cut back.

Showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use—for the average family, that adds up to nearly 40 gallons per day. Low-Flow or Water-Saving Showerheads using the latest technologies can help save water without compromising performance. You can also conserve water usage by turning off the water while shampooing your hair or shaving your legs.

During the colder months, keep curtains and blinds open during the day to let the warmth of the sunshine into your home. Close them at night to keep the heat in and the cold out. The reverse holds true for warmer months, keep the drapes closed during the day to help keep the room cooler, longer.

If you’ve got an attached garage, keep the doors closed in winter, to create an extra layer of insulation for your home.

Repainting? Use satin or semi-gloss paint on your walls. It reflects light better so you can use lower wattage bulbs.

How does housework help to conserve energy?

Dirt and dust can clog appliances and devices so they don’t work as well as they should. A clean home is an energy-efficient one – so find out here how to conserve energy with housework.

Dust your light bulbs. The dust reduces their intensity, which could encourage you to buy higher-wattage bulbs than you actually need, or, if you’ve got dimmer switches, to keep the lights brighter than necessary.

Three or four times a year, pull your fridge away from the wall and give the coils a good vacuuming. Once again, leaving an accumulation of dust and grime means the fridge motor has to work harder.

Clean filters! In dishwashers, washing machines and heat recovery ventilators. They’ll all perform better, and your washing machine and dishwasher are less likely to clog up and then break down.

If you have a tumble dryer, clean the lint screen after each load. As with filters, a clogged line screen means your dryer will be less efficient and take longer to dry your washing.

For the same reason, check the vent hose regularly and remove any fluff or obstructions.

Here are some Energy Saving Tips for everyday use:

Switch to new, energy-efficient light bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Use a low-energy inkjet printer rather than an energy-guzzling laser printer.

Still using a full-size computer? Swap it for a laptop or notebook.

If you’ve got a microwave or a slow cooker (or both), use them rather than a conventional oven whenever possible. A microwave uses about half as much energy as a normal oven, and a slow cooker can be up to 75% more efficient.

If you’re storing leftover food or making a packed lunch, put it in reusable containers rather than using foil or baggies.

It’s better to keep your fridge full, as it will use less energy when it’s well stocked. However, that doesn’t mean you should buy more food than you need and waste it – it’s better to buy only what you’re likely to use, and fill up the space by stacking the fridge shelves with bowls of water.

Only start your dishwasher when it’s full. A half load uses just as much electricity and hot water as a full load, so waiting until it’s full means you’ll do fewer washes. However, don’t overload it or stack everything close together or on top of each other, as it won’t be able to wash them properly.

The same methods of energy conservation apply to washing machines, unless they have an economy function that only works with half loads.

If you have a washer/dryer, or a tumble dryer, put a dry towel in with each load of clothes if there’s room. It will absorb the dampness and dry the clothes faster.

Turn off the lights as you leave a room, unless you’re coming straight back.

If you’ve got ventilation fans in your kitchen or bathroom, don’t leave them on for too long. Once they’ve cleared any condensation, switch them off. Or consider replacing them with heat recovery ventilation units, which continually pre-heat incoming air by warming it with the outgoing air.

If you’re not going to be using your computer for a while, switch it off rather than leaving it in screensaver mode.

Take chargers out of the wall socket. Never leave them switched on, whether they’re for your phone, your kindle, your laptop or your digital camera. They use power even when the device isn’t charging.