Home Energy Management: Reducing Bills While Protecting the Environment
Having electricity is a basic need in modern society that helps people have a good quality of living, from doing household chores to working on their jobs. In fact, some appliances need to have access to electricity for 24 hours such as refrigerators for preserving food items. While electricity has a financial cost to it, the energy that people consume on a daily basis impacts the environment as well.
Energy consumption has been changing through the years with various new technologies and electrical appliances that make people depend more on electricity. Moreover, the new trend of working remotely causes more energy consumption at home than at the office. A study in Japan found that 64% of teleworkers use air conditioners and lights only for themselves in their workspace which accounts for the 73% to 85% increase in electricity use.
Wasting electricity at home negatively affects the environment because the generation, distribution, and transmission processes of electricity leave carbon footprints. Based on a study from the University of Michigan, household energy consumption is accountable for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. As such, energy management at home is important to reduce financial costs and electricity waste.
Here are three simple ways in managing electricity use at home.
- Unplug devices
People regularly charge their devices and sometimes leave them plugged in the whole time, like laptops. However, even though the device is fully charged, plugged chargers still consume 60% of the electricity needed while charging. Energy vampires are the unused appliances that silently draw electricity which was found to be accountable for 10% of electricity bills. If one’s electricity bills are about $1,000 per year, unplugging unused chargers and appliances could save $100.
Unplugging is a very easy thing to do since it only takes a few seconds. However, it could be challenging for people who are used to leaving all their devices and chargers plugged in all the time. The solution is to use a smart power strip that enables them to turn it off through an app on the phone and monitor how much energy is consumed. Unplugging could prevent wasting electricity and reduce energy consumption. Therefore, this would help to make fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
- Use energy-saving light sources
An annual event called the Earth Hour is a global effort that encourages people to turn off electricity lamps for one hour. It was found to successfully reduce energy consumption by an average of 4% in several countries such as Australia, United Arab Emirates, and the US from 2007 through 2012. This shows that even though lamps appear to have low wattage, it still contributes significantly to the amount of electricity used at home.
Lamps are necessary both for functionality and decorative purposes. There are different types of light sources such as incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LED), compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), electrode-less fluorescent lamps (EEFL), and other lighting systems. A study found that LED uses the least amount of electricity with its operational cost is 6,46 times lesser than incandescent bulbs.
Switching the lights off is a good way to save energy, but sometimes there is a need to keep the lights on for certain conditions. Such instances include keeping the porch lights on during the night for safety concerns. The most practical light source to use would be LEDs; this way, the lights can be kept on longer without having unwanted costs on your wallet or the environment.
Smart home automation systems are also a good way to reduce energy consumption. This system uses a movement sensor or remote control to switch lights on and off. Certain types of light sources also have a light sensor which enables them to automatically turn off when there is daylight.
- Involve other household members
For those who are not living alone, it is necessary to influence other household members to do the same thing to have sustainable home energy management. The economical aspect of reducing bills is not the only motivation to save energy. This research found that being an “environmental champion” is another motivation that comes from the social influence of both online and offline interactions that promote environmental awareness.
Home energy management is beneficial for saving money and protecting the environment. Unplugging unused electronics, using energy-saving light sources, and involving everyone to do these simple steps can go a long way in terms of reducing electricity costs while being environmentally friendly. Encouraging each other to save energy also enables people to be more aware of one’s connectedness with nature.