energy
06 Sep
  • By James Evans

Easy ways to save water, energy and money!

In this day and age many people in the world take water and electricity for granted, yet these are clearly some of our most important resources. Water is a resource that we are using in ever increasing volumes. While the biggest consumers of water are industry and farming domestic use still use a huge amount and much of it is due to lazy habits and not being conscientious enough. It can be hard to equate running the tap a little with actual environmental damage but what most people can easily understand is a large electricity and water bill at the end of the month. Here are some ways in which you can save yourself money while helping our planet. In terms of saving water we have all heard the basic ones, stop running the tap while brushing teeth, taking care not to waste it when cooking and cleaning and ‘letting it mellow’ however there are also some more creative solutions that could potentially save you lots of money.

The Bathroom.

If you have plants or flowers to water consider bringing a bucket with you to the shower to collect the water that runs while your shower is heating up before you get in. You can also help lower the cost of your shower by getting a low flow shower head, these usually start at as little as $30, they flow at 2.5 gallons a minute compared to 5 of older heads. With all the advances in technology, there are many types of water saving shower heads and taps that can help you cut costs. Of course, the best way of saving money and water in the shower is to just take shorter ones,  also remember that in general showers use considerably less water than baths.

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(Save water from the shower and your kitchen to water your plants.)

Another creative tip is to fill a plastic or metal bottle with water and place it in the toilet tank. This helps as most toilet tanks hold much more water than is needed to flush anything down that drain, so if your bottle displaces a gallon or so of water that is the amount of water you will save which each flush. Do not use a brick or stone to do this as they will eventually break down and add damaging sediment into your toilet. Try not to flush everything down the toilet, throw used tissues and bathroom water into the bin which does not take lots of water to dispose of.

The Kitchen and Laundry.

So one of the most obvious is to try to only use the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Even so, most dishwashers have an Eco setting that takes a good bit longer but can save up to 20% electricity as compared with a normal wash. The best tip with washing machines is to try to wash your clothes at a lower temperature. When drying laundry hanging them up on a line or drying rack may take a bit of time but is far less expensive than using a dryer, these dryers use a large amount of energy to run.

Like the bucket in your shower, you can collect water used in boiling things and leftover drinking water and use that in your garden. Something as simple as thinking ahead can help you save, Don’t use water to defrost frozen foods, instead leave them in the fridge overnight. Try keeping a container of drinking water in the fridge rather than running the tap until the water is cold. Reducing your hot water use by even 5% can save you roughly $21 a year, while that does not sound like much if you managed to reduce it by 25% you’d save $100 a year.

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(Reducing your hot water use by even 5% can save you roughly $21 a year.)

When cooking, whether in the oven or on the hob try to turn off the heat before the food is completely done and allow the residual heat to finish off the food. With ovens leave the door shut after you’ve turned it off and let the leftover heat cook. With gas or electric hobs you can try to use a heavier pan or pot like cast Iron or stainless steel, these are better at conducting and holding heat so that they need a lower heat and can be turned off sooner.

Around the House

Unplugging unused electronics is an easy way of saving. Electronics left plugged in and on standby account for about 10% of the average Americans electricity bill, plugging these out when they are not in use can save you at least $50 a year. Of course just remembering to turn off lights in rooms that you’re not in is an easy method. Even just using as much natural light as possible can help save you money.

Another rather creative tip is to try to reflect your heat back into your house with tin foil blue-tacked behind the radiator. It could save you $50 on your heating bill every year. Try to fill gaps, nooks and draughty windows and use draught excluders for doors and weather strips work really well for the windows, these can be picked up for very little and often come in all shapes and sizes.

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(Electronics left plugged in and on standby account for about 10% of the average Americans electricity bill.)

Another simple fix is to change your light bulb for energy efficient ones. These days the come in many shapes and different types such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs). These tend to use 25% to 80% less electricity and typically last for much longer.  By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light bulbs with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.

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Sources:

“How Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents” U.S Department of Energy https://energy.gov/energysaver/how-energy-efficient-light-bulbs-compare-traditional-incandescents

“How to hack your home to save energy” 10.10 Climate Action, https://1010uk.org/articles/how-to-hack-your-home-to-save-energy

“21 tips: no-cost ways to save electricity” BC Hydro. https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/everyday-electricity-saving-tips.html?WT.mc_id=rd_21tips

“Water Saving Tips: Around the House” Grace Communications Foundation, 2017. http://www.gracelinks.org/440/water-saving-tips-around-the-house