Behind the scenes of the flickering lights and humming appliances, natural gas plays a significant role in powering our homes. Yet, beneath its surface-level cleanliness, there lies a stark truth. The process of burning natural gas to generate electricity releases pollutants into the air, contributing to the ominous cloud of climate change. Despite its reputation, natural gas extraction from the earth and its transportation leave a substantial mark on the environment, painting a picture far removed from the "clean" image it's often given.

As we bid farewell to another year, many of us are reflecting on the past and contemplating ways to enhance our lives in the coming months. If you're seeking a resolution that not only benefits your wallet but also makes a positive impact on the environment, look no further. Your home, the sanctuary where you unwind, create, learn, and live, demands a significant amount of energy to maintain its cozy ambiance. Step into the New Year embracing resolutions that not only transform your living space into an even more comfortable haven but also contribute to a greener planet and more robust savings. With energy costs on the rise, driven in part by global events, now is the perfect time to explore five impactful resolutions that not only trim your energy bills, but also shrink your environmental footprint. 

Let's embark on a path that not only saves you money but also aligns with a commitment to a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are our top five resolutions for a more energy-efficient and cost-effective home in the coming year:

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Home Energy Use

1.  Unplug Energy Vampires

Unplugging appliances from power strip

Bid farewell to idle power consumption by identifying and unplugging major energy vampires lurking in your home. There are nearly 50 household appliances and devices that still consume energy, even while “off.” Nearly 25% of all residential energy use is the result of devices that are in idle power mode, meaning that they’re either asleep or off.

Completely unplugging all of your appliances is probably not an option, considering that some of those cords are impossible to get to without moving heavy items. Instead, aim to unplug the biggest energy vampires, which are:

  • Washing machines
  • Cable boxes
  • Computers
  • Coffee makers
  • Speakers
  • Smart TVs
  • Apple TVs
2.  Strategize Heating and Cooling
women turning up thermostat to save energy
Master the art of temperature adjustment to make significant cuts to your energy bill without compromising comfort. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), you can reduce your energy bill by up to 10% just by turning the temperature in your home down by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours per day. This works whether it’s summer or winter.
For example, let’s say you keep the temperature set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer while you’re home. When you go to work, you turn it up to 78. By the time you get home, it’s been eight hours and you’ve saved about 10% on your energy bill. You can reset the temperature to the more comfortable 68 degrees.
3. Use LEDs
hands switching lightbulb to an efficient LED light
Illuminate your home with energy-efficient LEDs, a small change that yields substantial savings and longevity. These newer bulbs use 75% less energy than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Plus, they last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. This small action can save you hundreds over the coming years.
4. Lock In Treated Air
Worker checking windows for tight seal
Ensure your home's seals and insulation are up to par to prevent precious treated air from escaping. Check the following areas:
  • Doors and windows should have proper seals to keep inside air in.
  • Fridges and freezers should have snug seals to keep cold air in.
  • Ductwork must be properly sealed to direct heating and air conditioning.
You may consider replacing old windows that are leaking air with ones that are LEED certified that exceed Energy Star requirements for homes. You can also add door draft stoppers at the base of your doors, which close the gap between the floor and the bottom of your door. Plus, closing curtains and blinds help keep treated air inside.
5. Work Smarter in the Kitchen
woman adding dirty dishes to dishwasher
Optimize your kitchen habits to minimize energy usage, from smart appliance use to mindful cooking practices.There are a few ways you can do this:
  • Unplug any secondary freezers or fridges when not in use.
  • Keep your fridge at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit - the optimal temperature.
  • Keep your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it’s full.
  • Use the economy cycle setting on your dishwasher.
  • Thaw food in the fridge before you cook it to reduce cook time.
  • Use a microwave instead of your oven when possible, since it uses less energy.
As we welcome the New Year, let's resolve to create not just a comfortable home but also a sustainable one. Join us in embracing these simple yet impactful resolutions and make 2024 the year your home becomes a beacon of energy efficiency. Your wallet, and the planet, will thank you.
December 29, 2023