It never hurts to find ways of reducing your energy consumption in order to save and help the environment as well. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Reduce “phantom loads”
Phantom loads are energy consumption of appliances (75% of the power they consume when used) when they are turned off. Sounds unbelievable; but that is according to the US Department of Energy. So, it makes sense to unplug appliances when not in use or plug into a power strip which you can turn off when not using appliances.
2. Design windows according to your needs
Windows can reduce electric bills for homes that use heating or cooling units. In the tropics, big windows are preferable not just for lighting purposes during daytime (saving on artificial light) but also for bringing in cool air (saving on cooling cost) during windy days. However, many homebuilders today have forced people to buy ill-designed homes that have small steel-casement windows, trapping in more heat during the day and preventing cool night air to enter. Hence, people, who do not seem to see the connection, generally choose to buy air-conditioners when the air outside is cool enough to provide comfortable temperatures at night.
The main reason, as we know it, is that people who live in the urban areas try to prevent dust and pollution from entering their homes. The other reason is to prevent burglary. So, they close their windows at night. Steel grills solve part of the problem. Again, people do not realize it but those grills absorb heat at daytime, aggravating the heat inside the house.
3. For those who plan to build a home, make it energy-efficient
The ultimate solution, of course, is to build a house that is energy efficient. There are so many things one can incorporate to make it so. It all depends on the budget. Insulating it against heat or against the cold, as the case may be, will save you a lot of money. But even if you have an old home, you can do a lot more to make it energy-efficient.
4. Conserve water
People do not realize that water is the easiest resource to save money on. First of all, you can see and feel it. You can store it and even recycle it, unlike electricity. Finally, you can get it free from the sky or the ground, with a little investment.
Washing dishes, for instance, should be a cinch on how to save money: Whereas you open the faucet fully when doing this chore, try half-open and see how much water you save. The time it takes you to wash may not even differ. Then try one-third; it might take you longer; but, hey, you saved two-thirds of the water already! And if you really want to scrimp, try a trickle while washing dishes. Water from a fully-opened faucet will not completely touch the plate while soaping or rinsing it. Much of the water merely flows past into the sink. But a trickle and enough scrubbing (even without using a basin) will do the trick just as well. It is not in the amount of water you use but how you clean that matters.
Storing rainwater in a cistern used to be common; but nowadays, people do not even know what it is. Recycling gray-water (used water from laundrying, dishwashing or bathing) for other uses, such as cleaning dirty garage floors, watering plants and flushing toilets can save a lot of water.
5. Plant trees and shrubs
Keeping a cool house can be achieved through having plants around it and inside it. Plants never stop to produce protein through photosynthesis even at night or indoors. They can store sunlight and heat energy to survive and grow. They can help absorb heat inside and outside your home. They can also provide a buffer against solar heat and reflected heat from the surroundings.
If you plant fruit trees and vegetables, you can have extra income to cover part of your energy bills. If you cannot avoid paying power bills, grow some of the money to pay for it.
Even without spending so much and, sometimes, while making some money, you can save on your energy consumption.